Bike Share Study

Have you ever used or seen the blue Divvy bikes in Chicago? We've been studying bike share to see if it would work here in Grand Rapids. We hired consultants to work with us on a strategic business plan. We wanted to know that a market exists to support Bike Share and keep it running. 

The idea for Bike Share in Grand Rapids came from our community.  The GR Forward and Parks and Recreation Strategic Master Plan process identified bringing bike share and rentals.

We want to be responsible and equitable in our approach to Bike Share. We need to know that a Bike Share System would work in cost, revenue, and operation. We need to know that we can design a Bike Share system for everyone to use.

To do this, we asked questions about what other cities are doing and how our residents would use a system like this. We also took a business analysis approach to make sure we would be able to maintain a bike share system. 

Bike share is a point-to-point, on-demand transit system. It connects people to local destinations and other forms of transportation. Bike share is a low cost way to get to the places you want to go on your schedule. Use it to:

  • Connect to and from transit stops
  • Run errands
  • Get to appointments
  • Visit Grand Rapids destinations
  • Connect to and from  remote parking

How it works

  1. Join – Pay-as-you-go or buy a pass
  2. Unlock – Find a bike and unlock with your pass
  3. Ride – Ride anywhere within the service area and within the allotted time
  4. Return – Return your bike to any station


A Steering Committee guided our Bike Share Study. Take a look at who helped guide this process in the Want to Learn More section of this page.

Our consultants were busy working on market research. We also reached out to our community in a variety of way.  We wanted to hear from our residents about bike share. We went to businesses, neighborhood associations, and community events. We held open houses, reached out to stakeholders, and performed focus groups. Take a look at the full list in the Want to Learn More section of this page.

What We Heard 

The Steering Committee established goals from feedback we heard out in the community:

  • "This is a great idea"
  • "Sign me up"
  • "I'd use it to get to work when the buses aren't running"
  • "I like the idea, but I'm not comfortable riding in the road with cars"
  • "We need better space on streets to ride"
  • "I'd need to relearn to ride a bike"

If we bring bike share to Grand Rapids. We want residents and visitors alike to use the system. We're committing to build a system that provides a valuable transportation service. Check out some ideas on what we would like to do to support Bike Share:

  • Educate potential bike share users in culturally competent ways
  • Find partners to provide free or low cost helmet options and bicycle safety training
  • Communicate in both English and Spanish (and other languages where necessary)
  • Equip bicycles with baskets big enough to carry groceries, merchandise, or small bags
  • Improve bike network connections and access (connect with ongoing bike plan development)
  • Partner with employers to help employee commuting / trip making via bike share 
  • Feature riders who reflect the Grand Rapids population in communications about bike share

Bike Share Goals

Our Steering Committee helped us identify the goals of bike share in Grand Rapids. The goals are:

  • Be financially sustainable
  • Minimize the need to rely on the City’s general fund for ongoing system operations
  • Be accessible for all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, age or ability in its pricing, payment structure, station locations, education and outreach efforts, and partnerships with local organizations
  • Improve the reach and utility of public transportation
  • Increase access to key destinations in the City
  • Enhance both residents’ and visitors’ experiences getting around Grand Rapids
  • Foster “park once” behaviors to help improve available parking supply
  • Enable increased physical activity and benefit public health

Operation Recommendations

Our steering committee made recommendations on how we should operate Bike Share. The most important recommendation was to move forward with bike share.

Recommendations included who would own the system and who would operate it. They also set the Phase 1 Service Area. Review the map and more details on the recommendations in the Want to Learn More section of this page.

For pricing, the steering committee recommended the following:

Single Ride Access
Users would pay $3 for first 60 minutes and $3 for every 30 minute block thereafter.

Monthly Pass
Users would pay $20 for unlimited trips up to 60 minutes in length per month. After 60 minutes if bike is not docked, $2 for every 30 minute block thereafter.

Student Pass
Students would pay $50 per semester (~4 months) for unlimited 60 minute rides in length. After 60 minutes if bike is not docked, $2 for every 30 minute block thereafter.

Lower-Income Pass
Residents with a valid nine-digit state benefits number would pay $5 per month. This would provide unlimited rides up to 60 minutes. After 60 minutes if bike is not docked, $2 for every 30 minute block thereafter.

Minutes Package
Purchase a package of minutes, much like a reloadable Smart Phone data plan, that pass holders could use in blocks of their choosing.

Our consultant team is finalizing the Bike Share Study and Strategic Business Plan. When it's complete, we'll bring it to the Mobile GR Commission and City Commission for approval to move forward with implementation. This requires a lot more work! If City Commission approved the strategic plan, we'll start working to bring Bike Share. We'll need to:

  • Change ordinance language
  • Find a non-profit operator
  • Fundraise and develop sponsorship criteria
  • Identify station locations
  • Purchase bikes and stations
  • And more