Cambridge Celebrates New Bike-Sharing Program

More than one hundred cyclists celebrated the expansion of the year-old Boston bike-sharing program Hubway to Cambridge on Wednesday with a group bike ride from Central Square to Harvard Square and a celebration at the Holyoke Center. “Hub-way! Hub-way!” shouted the crowd in front of City Hall, where Mayor Henrietta J. Davis lauded the program, describing its success in Boston.

Wednesday’s event marked the official extension of Hubway—which is operated by the bike-sharing company Alta—to Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville.

The program has met a warm welcome from cyclists, who, according to Davis, comprise 7 to 10 percent of the city’s population. “Something hugely exciting is happening,” said Brent Whelan ’73, an Allston resident and decades-long Boston-area cyclist who attended the event. “Not just with Hubway. With bike lanes all over Boston and other biking considerations built into infrastructure, we're getting close to that break point where biking is really legitimized.”

By the end of August, Hubway plans to operate 24 stations across Cambridge, including seven Harvard-donated stations on campus. Harvard sponsored five of the stations, which cost approximately $50,000 each, near the Longwod and Allston campuses last year.

According to Harvard sustainability spokesperson Colin B. Durrant, the new stations will be located at the Quad, the corner of Cowperwaithe and Dewolfe Streets, Peabody Terrace, the Law School, the Kennedy School, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Gund Hall. He said he hopes all of the Harvard stations will be operational when the semester starts.

Durrant said that there is no plan to offer a student discount on Hubway membership, which costs $85 per year.

“Large institutions like Universities and hospitals have been some of the best partners...because places like Harvard are already doing so much,” said Jessica Robertson, a transportation coordinator at the Metro Area Planning Committee.

To use Hubway stations, cyclists are required to buy passes for a length of one day, three days, or a full year. These passes allow cyclists an unlimited number of rides shorter than thirty minutes, with additional charges for longer trips.

“It’s really perfect for short trips and commuting,” said Scott Mullen, general manager of the program.

Robertson added, “When it comes to transportation and infrastructure, [bike sharing] is really good bang for your buck.”

Thus far the project has cost about $9 million, Robertson said, and it has it has clocked just over 400,000 rides in its year of operation.

Christine Heenan, the University’s vice president for public affairs and communications, explained that Harvard was drawn to help the program because of the environmental and social benefits of bike sharing.

“Hubway represents an exciting new opportunity to further knit our communities together,” Heenan said in a statement. “Whether in education, housing, or the environment, we are committed to working together with our neighboring communities to develop solutions and programs that lead to a better future.”