Charleston-based Gotcha Bike plans to launch a bicycle share program in downtown Charleston this spring, according to a news release.
Charleston City Council recently voted to allow the bike company to operate the service on the peninsula. The bike share will essentially enable residents and tourists to rent bikes from stations around the city for a fee and return them when finished riding.
The company plans to launch its Charleston program with 250 bikes at up to 20 bike stations throughout the city. Three stations will be on the MUSC campus, with additional locations announced in the coming weeks, the release said.
Gotcha Bike currently runs 18 bike-share programs at college, residential and corporate campuses around the country.
Users can find and reserve a bike on the app, website or bike keypad and then unlock it with a provided, four-digit code, according to the company website. Users can ride bikes anywhere and return them to one of the stations when finished.
Gotcha builds the bike stations, which are paid for by the company and through private donations. Each rack mounts individually to a baseplate to prevent damage to sidewalks and enables relocation, the company said. Each station is customized based on space available and secured to prevent theft.
The company will work with the city to build out each location. The company has not disclosed its Charleston rates, though daily, monthly and annual rates are anticipated.
“We believe in providing Charleston with a safe, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation,” Sean Flood, CEO of parent company The Gotcha Group, said in the news release.
MUSC Health will sponsor the bike share for three years. The $175,000 sponsorship will pay for advertising and program support.
All Gotcha Bikes will be assembled in Charleston. The bike frames are lightweight and made of rustproof aluminum with waterproof Kevlar seats.
They have flashing safety lights, which will be powered through a built-in solar panel, and a data hub, giving riders real-time analytics for each bike ride, such as calories burned and money saved by riding instead of driving.
The company’s partner, Social Bicycles, will equip each bike with GPS technology, enabling users to locate and access bikes through a smartphone or computer.
“The bike share program in Charleston will give locals and visitors more options to move freely around the city,” Flood said.
Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.