MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL | MICHELLE CORBET
A new bike share initiative got more than it bargained for at a meeting Wednesday; but, since it was increased funding, it was welcome news.
Explore Bike Share received double the amount of its original ask at Wednesday’s Center City Development Corp. (CCDC) meeting.
The $4 million bike share effort, led by Doug Carpenter, principal of advertising and marketing firm DCA, will offer an alternative public transportation option. The plan is to establish 600 bikes for rent that can be shared between 60 stations across Downtown, Midtown, South Memphis, Orange Mound and Binghampton.
Carpenter originally applied for a $30,000 funding contribution from the CCDC board, which is an affiliate of the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC). But, the board decided to up their capital campaign contribution to $60,000, which will fund the cost for an entire station.
Carpenter tried to turn the meeting into an impromptu auction-style fund raiser: “Can I get $90,000?” Carpenter asked jokingly.
Explore Bike Share has raised about $2 million toward its $4 million goal so far.
The majority of the stations will be located in the Central Business Improvement District, Carpenter said, anticipating nearly 27 to 30 Downtown stations. Based on research from other markets, the percentage of usage ranges wildly, but Carpenter anticipates each Memphis bike will be used an average of 1.5 times a day.
“For events such as [Memphis in May Beale Street] Music Fest or Grizzlies’ games, we are able to set up a bike corral,” Carpenter said.
The number of bikes at each station will be determined by pedestrian traffic and demand; a station at City Hall could have 20 bikes and another station farther from the center city could have five.
"It’s good for tourists and visitors, but equally as important and something I’ve been saying at the top of my lungs, is that Downtown is for everyone, and [Bike Share] will connect Downtown to other neighborhoods,” said Terence Patterson, DMC president and CEO.