New Bike Sharing Company Moves to Kendall

Just months after Boston’s Hubway opened its first bike station in Cambridge, Zagster, one of the nation’s oldest bicycle sharing companies, has moved its headquarters from Philadelphia to Kendall Square.

With the new offices less than a mile from the pioneering car sharing company Zipcar, Zagster’s arrival earlier this year has continued to develop Cambridge as a center of sustainable urban living. Zagster, founded in 2007 as CityRyde, aims to provide bikes through contracting with businesses, hotels, and universities. This model stands in contrast to Hubway’s program, which is a regional network intending to serve the greater Boston community.

Zagster has opened two locations in Cambridge so far, one at University Park at MIT and another at the Hyatt on Memorial Drive.

The company offers use of the bikes at its University Park station for $9 per day, $30 per month, or $50 per year. Contrastingly, Hubway’s options include one-day, three-day, or annual memberships, which include both a flat fee and per-use charge for rides longer than 30 minutes.

Zagster has not yet made contracts with Harvard or MIT, both of which have already sponsored Hubway stations.

Hubway, a city-wide initiative, began operating in Boston in July 2011 and expanded to Cambridge in April 2012.

“I know both MIT and Harvard have been involved since the get-go,” said Adam Serafin, a MIT campus planner. “It’s a great opportunity to provide another means of transportation for students.”

MIT opened two stations, located at Mass. Ave and Amherst Street and in front of the MIT Stata Center on Vassar Street, in August 2012.

Harvard has invested in 12 stations across its Cambridge, Allston, and Longwood campuses.

“It not only connects our campuses, but provides bike sharing to communities and residents throughout the Boston region,” Harvard sustainability spokesperson Colin B. Durrant wrote in an email.

Five of Harvard’s stations currently operating are located near the College campus: Mass. Ave., the Charles Hotel, Brattle Street, the Law School, and DeWolfe Street.

One station is expected to be installed in the Quad, though the location has yet to be finalized.

Durrant said the Quad station may not be installed this fall, but he expected it to be operating by next spring. Another station is expected at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Unlike Harvard, MIT signed on as a Hubway corporate member and offers subsidized annual memberships—$25, rather than the standard $85—as well as discounted hourly rates to MIT employees and students.

According to Serafin, MIT has sold over 500 subsidized passes.

Harvard has not yet subsidized the program.

“We are focusing on expanding access and providing students and others in the community with an integrated bike network throughout our campuses, while also supporting the growth of the regional bike sharing network,” Durrant wrote.

—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at kflynn@college.harvard.edu.

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