Bike Share Program Rolling in Downtown Macon

Now anyone in Macon can take a bicycle out for a spin with a credit card and a phone app.

The Macon Bike Share program was officially unveiled Thursday at Washington Memorial Library, one of three locations where bikes can be picked up. They are also available at the Tubman Museum and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail on Spring Street.

“This is a great way for people to enjoy what Macon has to offer on bike, alfresco-style,” said Rhonda Okurowski, director of tourism for the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The bikes will be free for the first hour and then $3 for each hour after that. They can be picked up at one location and dropped off at another. Users will download the app for Zagster — the company behind the bike system — and after providing a credit card number, they’ll be given a code to unlock a bike from the rack.

That allows users to pay for the bike, which will be capped at $30 per day, but it will also cut down on the number of lost or stolen bikes.

“Once you’re connected, Zagster does have the capability of seeing where the bikes are,” Okurowski said.

The program was funded through a Downtown Challenge grant through the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. Alex Leahy, the foundation’s program officer, spoke at Thursday’s unveiling about the quick turnaround from funding to reality for the bikes.

The CVB was announced as a grant recipient in June after applying in March. Another round of grant applications closed Thursday.

“Just three short months later, here we are celebrating these bikes,” Leahy said. “The Community Foundation is very excited about being a part of the project.”

There are similar programs in cities across Georgia, including Atlanta and Savannah.

NewTown Macon was also a partner on the bike project, as well as the pop-up bike lane event going on downtown Friday and Saturday. Josh Rogers, president and CEO of NewTown Macon, said that the bike sharing program was a part of the “energy and enthusiasm” he’s seen from the CVB.

“This program is just an example of how the CVB has been looking at their mission with fresh eyes,” he said.

The bikes were set up as a long-term addition to the downtown area. While this weekend’s bike lanes will be around for just two days, Rogers is hopeful that the focus on lower-cost transportation such as cycling can become a staple for Macon.

“Our goal is to have this stuff made permanent,” he said.

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