Workers installed a new Hubway Station on Massachusetts Avenue across the street from Harvard University Monday in front of the Au Bon Pain restaurant. Photo by Brock Parker.
The first Hubway bicycle sharing stations in Cambridge are up and running.
Several stations were installed and activated in Harvard and Central squares Monday, with more to come Tuesday and over the next two weeks, said city officials.The Hubway stations in Cambridge are the first link in the regional bicycle sharing network outside Boston, where the bicycle sharing network launched last year with 60 docking stations.
For a membership fee of $85 a year or $5 a day, Hubway allows users to borrow bicycles for short trips and return them at any docking station throughout the regional network.
Cambridge will install 24 docking stations in the next two weeks, said Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager. Hubway is also expected to launch in Brookline and Somerville this month. Eventually Somerville will have 11 stations and Brookline will have four.
“There is a lot of interest,” Seiderman said. “Once this has expanded to Somerville, Brookline and Cambridge it will be really clear just how valuable it is as intercity transportation.”
In Harvard Square Monday, Oscar Quintanilla, a 24-year-old from Somerville, said he has his own bicycle, but has used Hubway in Boston because it's easy to use and park the bikes for short trips. But until Monday, he said he couldn't use Hubway to cross the Charles River.
"There was always that problem that you can't come back to Cambridge from Boston and park your bike," he said.
Among the new Hubway stations installed in Cambridge Monday were locations on Massachusetts Avenue in front of Au Bon Pan in Harvard Square, at the corner of Brattle and Elliot streets in Harvard Square, and on Massachusetts Avenue across from City Hall in Central Square.
Inspecting the new station at Brattle and Elliot streets Monday, Mia Buckland, who is 22 years old and lives in Cambridge, said she would not want to pay the annual fee to use the bicycle sharing network. But Buckland said she would pay the $5 fee to use the system on days when she needs a bicycle.
On Wednesday Aug. 8, Cambridge will hold a celebration in Central Square for the Hubway launch in the city. Seiderman said details about the celebration were still being finalized Monday, but the event will be held at 11 a.m. at a Hubway station going in across the street from City Hall along Massachusetts Avenue.
Cambridge signed a contract in April with Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share to operate the Hubway system. The city is paying Alta about $1.2 million to purchase the needed equipment and to operate and maintain the system. Most of the funding is being provided through grants, but the city along with Harvard University and MIT are pitching in almost half of the cost.