The New Sign of Spring: The Hubway Installations Begin

The Hubway bike share program is set to launch next week (depending on the snow, of course).

Photo by Meredith Foley

Photo by Meredith Foley

It’s the new sign of spring.

Forget about the trees budding, the snow melting, or the Red Sox playing in Fort Myers, once the Hubway stations are re-installed then you know the season is almost here. The beloved bike share program, entering its third year in the city, will be up and running by the first or second week of April, says Nicole Freedman, director of bicycle programs for the City of Boston. “The full launch will be the first or second week in April, they are waiting for the snow to clear,” she says.

The new season will start with 72 stations in Boston proper (the same number as last year) and 105 in the whole system (including Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville). Another 20 stations will be added throughout the season in locations like Dorchester, Roxbury, Charlestown, and Jamaica Plain. This will be the first time that the bike share program enters Jamaica Plain.

A yearly membership is only $85 (we think that is a steal), and Freedman says that corporate memberships have really taken off this year. Corporate memberships are $50 and employers subsidize the rest. The Hubway is about short quick trips (rides are less than 30 minutes). “You can take a bike one way to the movie theater, drop it off, and then take a different bike back,” Freedman explains. “You can rent the bike 10 different times a day as long as each trip is less than 30 minutes.”

Freedman says that to date there have been 675,000 trips taken by Hubway bikes. The first season, which ran end of July 2011 to November 2011, there was 144,000 trips. Last year was the Hubway’s first full season. It ran March 2012 through November 2012 and there was a total of 531,000 trips taken. Officials expect the numbers to be even greater this year.

As for the rumors about making the Hubway year-round, for now, they’re just rumors. “We are looking at the feasibility and what it takes to be year round,” Freedman says. “We want to see is this something we can do and if it is, how do we make it work?” The decision, she says, will be made before next winter’s first snowstorm.

Hubway officials are definitely the only people in Boston thinking about next year’s snow.

Top 5 most popular Hubway stations in Boston:

1. South Station

2. Boston Public Library

3. Boylston St./Arlington St.

4. Back Bay/South End T stop on Dartmouth St.

5. North Station (TD Garden)