Wichita's Bike Share Program Resuming Under New Operator
After shutting down this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wichita’s bike share program will resume later this year under a new operator.
Michigan-based Tandem Mobility will take over the Bike Share ICT program from Zagster. The company filed for bankruptcy in March, leaving the bike docks scattered around Wichita empty for months.
Tandem will provide 200 bikes, maintain the bike stations and provide customer support, including a mobile app for riders.
"Which is exactly what Zagster was doing before," Wichita Transit director Mike Tann told the Wichita City Council on Tuesday.
Bike Share ICT launched in 2017 with more than a dozen bike docks in downtown Wichita before expanding across the city. It logged 8,000 trips the year it launched; 15,000 trips in 2018, and 23,000 trips in 2019, Tann said.
In addition to funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, the program also brought in about $50,000 annually from sponsorships and rider fees, which went back into marketing and maintenance.
"At this point, it's been very, very, very successful," Tann said.
Council member Becky Tuttle helped launch Bike Share ICT more than three years ago and says it's an important asset to the city.
"For quite a while the most utilized stop, or the place people stopped the most where there wasn’t a station, was in front of the Dillons that’s at Douglas and Hillside," she said, "which leads us to believe that people were utilizing the system not only for recreation but for transportation and especially in the food desert area that we have downtown."
The city's agreement with Tandem is supposed to begin on Dec. 1.