In a statement, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, "The idea for bicycle sharing is simple: to give residents and visitors one more way to get around our urban core. For the cruise passengers in Channelside, the downtown office workers, and the family in Seminole Heights, this program will be designed to make all of their lives easier and provide an affordable, easy mode of transportation."
Last year the city released a proposal requesting a vendor that could create 30 stations with 300 bikes throughout Tampa's downtown core, Ybor City, and surrounding neighborhoods by fall 2013, with expansion phases to continue out to Westshore and the University of South Florida area by fall 2015.
Business Insider recently named the New York City-based Social Bicycles as one of the city's biggest start-up companies.
"Social Bicycles is excited to work with CycleHop to bring the next generation of bike share technology to the City of Tampa," said Ryan Rzepecki, CEO of Social Bicycles. "Residents and visitors will soon be able to travel using a new environmentally friendly form of public transportation. Our bikes are equipped with a GPS-enabled locking system which will lock to bike racks found at hub locations throughout downtown Tampa. Our system is more affordable and scalable than other technologies, and we hope to quickly spread throughout the Tampa Bay region."
This is not the first time the city has tried a bike sharing concept. Back in 1997 the Tampa Downtown Partnership began the "Borrow-a-Bike" program using 50 bikes from the Tampa Police Department's cache of unclaimed stolen property. A week into the program, the "Orangecycles," as they were called, had been stolen (again), and the program was history. But this will be the first time a new, modern concept is being executed — one that has swept through major American and European cities throughout the past half decade.