In The News

In The News 2018-05-13T20:01:07+00:00

We’re excited about bike sharing in Camden, and so is the media! Check out our recent press coverage:

Dockless Companies Deliver Bike-Share to Underserved Areas
Streetsblog USA – May 10, 2018

“But where docked systems are falling short, in some cases private dockless companies are picking up the slack. Chinese bike-share firm ofo arrived in in Camden, New Jersey, last week with 200 bikes. The grant-supported pilot is meant to gauge whether the community can support a permanent bike-share system. Bikes will be available for $1 per hour during the seven-month trial and can be locked anywhere.

Charles Brown, of the New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center, says Camden is now the lowest-income city (median income $27,000) in the U.S. to have a bike-share system.”

Are ‘dockless’ bicycles a fit for Philly?
Philly Voice – May 10, 2018

One of those new developments – so-called “dockless” bikes – just debuted in Camden last week. And it’s one that Philadelphia officials are giving serious thought. Unlike Philly’s Indego bike share, Camden’s bicycle fleet does not need to be returned to a docking station or locked to a bike rack. Instead, riders can simply leave the bikes parked anywhere, thanks to a smart lock attached to the back tire.

Yet, expanding a docked program takes time and financial resources. Three years after its launch, many city neighborhoods lack docking stations, and therefore lack access to Indego. But a dockless program – like the one Camden adopted – could change that.

“If you have a dockless bike sharing program, you don’t have to worry about that,” said Randy LoBasso, communications manager for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “You can get more people to the bikes in more neighborhoods. You can open up cycling as a form of transportation and recreation in general.”

Instead of heading to a docking station, Camden riders can find bicycles stationed anywhere in the city by logging onto a mobile app. The bikes – which are outfitted with GPS tracking devices – can be unlocked by entering a code provided by the app.

Can a Bike-Share Program Spur More Improvements in Camden?
Wall Street Journal – May 2, 2018

Biking “changes the whole atmosphere of Camden,” said Mayor Frank Moran shortly after taking a lap around a sun-drenched park in front of City Hall on Tuesday atop one of Ofo’s bright yellow bikes.

Cooper’s Ferry Chief Executive Kris Kolluri hopes the bike share will aid in the city’s recent upturn. Employment in the Camden metro area rose 3.7% last year, one of the leading growth rates in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The city recorded 23 murders in 2017, the lowest rate in 30 years.

“Mobility and access to amenities that are in other burgeoning cities is what we hope to provide for the residents of the city,” Mr. Kolluri said.

Camden introduces a bike share program
Fox 29 – May 2, 2018

“Andre was the first Camden resident at the launch of a test run of the new bike share program. He’s a community activist and was working just steps away from the launch. His concerns represent the challenges of bringing new programs to cities used to being overlooked. Challenges the mayor, also a longtime resident, understands.

“It’s a challenge, it’s something new, different. Our residents were never exposed to this and my job is to really take this out to the community,” said Camden Mayor Francisco “Frank” Moran.

The OFO bike share is innovative in many ways. First, the bikes do not require docking stations. They unlock with an app and that leads to the second innovation. A person can take them and leave them, literally, anywhere in Camden. That’s because they want the inner cities to have access to them in a way that other areas don’t have access.

“We’ll be promoting it through our community centers, through our radio station on Sundays and literally door-to-door. We want our residents to take advantage of these amenities,” Mayor Moran explained.

They will likely be a hit in the business and tourist district. But, how did people feel about the program the further one got from the tourist district?

“I absolutely think it can work. I think it’s a great idea that will encourage people to get out and about in the community more,” said resident Maureen.”

Camden bike share launches to give options, go green and get exercise
NJTV News – May 1, 2018

“The partners say this bike share is about going green, getting exercise and giving city residents more transportation options and to knock down access barriers to bikes. Some barriers that Charles Brown, Senior Researcher at the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, has identified are costs, storage and fears of being hit and profiled.

“What we care most about is that everyone in the city of Camden has access to a bicycle, that’s the ultimate measure of success,” Brown said.”

Can a trendy bike share program boost Camden?
NJ Advance Media For NJ.com – May 1, 2018

“We think it’s going to be a great alternative to vehicles,” said Vince Basara, a spokesman for the City of Camden, who compared the service to Uber or Lyft, but for bikes. “Within the neighborhoods, within the downtown, we want everyone to use it. We want commuters to use it and residents to use it as they need to go short distances.”

The program is far from the first to hit New Jersey, as the trendy, bike share craze has taken root in places like Bayonne, Hoboken and Jersey City. In Hudson County, Hoboken’s bike share has proved so successful it’s made moves to expand into Guttenberg, North Bergen, Weehawken, West New York and Bayonne, after accounting for 300,000 rides in the square-mile city in less than three years. 

But such programs, while affordable, have often overlooked the needs of low-income communities across the nation, research shows. The Camden venture is a new kind of test which could determine if the service popular among millennials can give a boost to sprawled, low-income communities, often isolated and underserved by public transportation.

“The first thing is actually letting people know that this is for them,” said John Boyle, the research director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “It’s not a gentrifying force that’s coming at them. This is really the cutting-edge for bike share as far as dealing with equity and disadvantage.”

Will a bike share system that relies on smartphones work for Camden?
Plan Philly – April 13, 2018

“Thanks to a $1.8 million grant from the William Penn Foundation, Coopers Ferry Partnership, an economic development nonprofit in Camden, will launch the bike share program with Ofo, a Chinese company that has reportedly raised $2.2 billion in venture capital. (Disclosure: The William Penn Foundation supports WHYY.)

The seven-month pilot will see the “hundreds” bikes spread across the small city of 76,000 residents, said Coopers Ferry Partnership CEO Kris Kolluri. Kolluri was unable to say exactly how many bikes there’ll be, explaining that the bike supply would be determined solely by Ofo based off of demand. Using a smartphone app, customers will be able to rent the self-locking bikes for $1 per hour.

A map function on the app will allow riders to locate an available GPS-equipped bike. Once they’ve found a bike to reserve, they will scan a QR code to unlock the rear wheel. At the end of their trip, riders can lock and leave the bike essentially wherever they want — although Camden city officials are imploring users to leave the bikes on sidewalks and parking lots, and not in the middle of the street or, worse, the river.”

Is Camden ready for bike sharing? Residents will find out this May
The Inquirer – April 11, 2018

“Need to catch a PATCO train, but the walk to downtown Camden feels like a trek?

That may not be a problem come May 1, when the city deploys scores of bright-yellow, two-wheeled bicycles throughout its streets. Coopers Ferry Partnership is teaming up with Chinese-based company ofo to bring dockless bike sharing to South Jersey for a sevenmonth pilot program.

Users download the ofo app on a smartphone, search for nearby GPS-enabled bikes, and scan a QR code on the rear wheel to unlock it. Riders are charged $1 per hour of pedaling and can park the bikes anywhere using attached locks.”

Bike-share program to pedal into Camden
Courier Post – April 9, 2018

“A high-tech bike-share program already operating in cities like Shanghai and Seattle will arrive here soon. Patrons of the ofo service can use smartphone apps to locate and unlock available bikes, then ride for $1 an hour, according to the San Francisco-based venture.

The innovative service doesn’t use the parking docks that line the curbs in other cities with bike-share services. Instead, customers push a lever to lock bikes at the end of their trips, leaving them behind for the next rider.”