On Tuesday afternoon, council members and local representatives from Avon, EagleVail and Vail ripped through a ribbon on West Meadow Drive in Vail — all riding on Shift e-bikes from the municipalities’ newly launched regional share program.
Shift Bike is now available in the three partner communities, with 90 bikes stationed at 20 stations throughout Avon, EagleVail and Vail. The bikes will be available now through November 2022.
On Tuesday, Beth Markham, the town of Vail’s environmental sustainability coordinator, said the program is really targeted toward local residents, creating a “great micro-mobility opportunity and option for folks to ‘Shift’ their ride.”
This, she added, will help the municipalities and county reach “lofty” climate action goals.
“This is a really awesome opportunity to help our communities achieve our climate action goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050,” Markham said. “And in Eagle County, transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.”
While both Vail and Avon have tried out their own bike share programs in the past, the opportunity for the three municipalities to partner on a regional system was too great to pass up.
The communities selected vendor Drop Mobility to bring the bike share program to Eagle County. Drop Mobility helps bring local bike share systems to many communities across the country.
Amber Wason, the vendor’s vice president of partnerships, said that the involvement from each partner community has been “unreal and unparalleled.”
Wason added that not only are the e-bikes accessible to a wide range of abilities, but the Drop bikes are one-size fits all.
“It really just lowers the barrier for people to try biking, they don’t have to own one, their first trip is free — they can get out and make sure it works for them,” she said. “So really, we see it as a more equitable system than just selling bikes or leasing them.”
As the Eagle County program name suggests, the local communities are really trying to shift locals’ behaviors around transportation to a more climate-friendly option. With that, Markham said that the communities are encouraging visitors who are interested in using electric bikes for an extended period of time to continue renting with local bike shops.
While the first 30-minute ride on the Shift e-bike share program is free, the program also offers monthly, seasonal and pay-as you go models for the rentals. For the pay-as-you go model, riders pay $3 to unlock the bike and $0.40 per minute after the first 30 free minutes.
However, the program also offers membership plans just for Eagle County residents.
The monthly membership costs $25 per month, and the seasonal membership — running June 2022 through November 2022 — costs $100. These memberships include 60 minutes of free ride time per day and no unlock fees. Any minutes over an hour cost the membership riders $0.15 per minute.
While the bikes can be ridden around the community, they must be returned to one of the 20 stations in Avon, EagleVail and Vail. The bikes themselves can reach up to 16 miles per hour and have an electric charge that lasts between 30 and 40 miles depending on a number of factors.
For more information on the program — or to download the app and start riding —visit Shift-Bike.com
Reporter Ali Longwell can be reached at email@example.com.