Earlier this year, the Tampa mayor consulted with local entrepreneurs who are extremely interested in creating a bike sharing program, which aims to mirror similar efforts that in recent years, spread nationally and internationally. Such programs allow city denizens to use bikes at a low-cost and for short periods of time. The bikes are also conveniently placed at closely spaced rental stations.
"Biking is a great way to get around — it's easy, fun and good for the environment. It's also quickly becoming an integral part of how people commute around our urban core," Buckhorn said in a press release. "A bike share system would provide an affordable, healthy option for residents and visitors traveling around downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods."
According to the city's press release, the goal is to have 30 stations with 300 bikes throughout Tampa's downtown core, Ybor City and surrounding neighborhoods by fall 2013. Expansion phases will continue to Westshore and the University of South Florida area by fall 2015.
Back in May, CL profiled individuals with the group GO!BYKE, who formulated a bike sharing plan — though unlike other programs around the country, their intention is to have it privately financed (as is the case in New York City with CitiBank).
This morning, CL contacted Jeff Huddleston, the CFO for GO!BYKE. He said the group members will definitely put in a bid for the contract and they hope to win it.
Earlier this year, at an event for young professionals hosted by Emerge Tampa Bay at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Huddleston asked Buckhorn about the chances of the city getting involved with a bike sharing system. The mayor responded that he was interested, but would have more time to consider it after the Republican convention left town.
According to the city's request for proposal, the system should have, "easy check‐out and return, ease of use, fixed and flexible stations design, tracking of the bikes and mileage, solar powering stations, incorporation into other modes of transport to allow dual pricing for transit user, bike redistribution credit, flexible business models and theft deterrence."
The city said those interested in submitting a proposal need to do so by 2:30 p.m on Nov. 7, 2012, to the City of Tampa Purchasing Department. However, there will be an earlier meeting where city officials will field questions about the request for proposal. The meeting takes place on Oct. 24 at 9:30 a.m. at the purchasing department located at 306 E. Jackson St.