Gotcha bike sharing service has finally arrived in Baton Rouge.
The announcement of the launch follows months of delays, mostly due to lock redesigns. The service has a five-year bike share contract and was partially funded by a federal grant.
The bikes are available for immediate use, but Gotcha, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and local sponsors will host a press conference for the official public launch on Thursday, July 11. The conference will take place at Live Oak Plaza at North Boulevard Town Square.
A leisurely ride on the new e-bikes will follow the press conference, led by Geaux Cruisin’ owner Kirkland Pelichet. Individuals interested in participating in the group ride can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are now 500 new GPS-enabled e-bikes and 50 hubs around Baton Rouge. To pick up and return bikes, riders will first need to download the Gotcha app. The app also allows users to pick from several payment options, including a daily, monthly or annual basis.
Riders who don’t want to subscribe to the monthly payment option can pay $2 to unlock a bike and $0.10 per minute.
The timing of the Gotcha program launch coincidently coincides with construction of new bike rails located downtown. Bike rails will be installed constructed this week on the steps near the LASM Planetarium and lead up to the top of the levee downtown, allowing bikers to avoid carrying their bikes up the stairs or walking their bikes up the grassy levee, according to The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report on Monday.
Although the new rail construction is beneficial to bikers, some question if Baton Rouge is biker-friendly enough for a program like Gotcha.
DDD Executive Director Davis Rhore told The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report that they “are committed to [making] the downtown area bike-and pedestrian-friendly.”
Gotcha’s bike sharing program has led some individuals to wonder if a scooter sharing program is next in line to come to the Capital City. Although Gotcha also provides scooters in other cities, a different company seemed to be eyeing Baton Rouge.
Bird Scooters has apparently begun looking into the Baton Rouge market, according to The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report on Tuesday.
Bird Scooters told Business Report that the company is interested in bringing the low-cost service to Baton Rouge, and the company “[hopes] to soon have the opportunity to do so, and we look forward to future discussions with local leaders about the inherent benefits of having Bird in town.”
Although scooters won’t appear in Baton Rouge any time soon, they could become another beneficial means of transportation. Electric scooters are apparently more cost effective – they don’t require docking stations and get 10 times more rides than bikes, meaning they don’t require a subsidy or investments, according to The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.