Alta gets OK to start bike share in Portland

Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which operates a program in Washington, D.C., has hit up against a significant delay in the launch of its high-profile bike share in New York City.

The city of Portland has finalized its deal with Alta Bicycle Share to create a bike-sharing program in the city.

Alta Bicycle Share Inc. will begin raising funds to establish a bike share program with 750 bikes in the city.

The Portland City Council approved a contract with Portland-based Alta Wednesday morning.

“Alta has developed an ambitious plan and will bear the burden of fundraising to cover costs. I’m proud to have a homegrown company doing this work and confident the private sector will be successful in making this system a reality,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams said in a press release. “Bike share is a game-changer for bicycling in Portland.”

Alta was one of four bike share operators who responded when the Portland Bureau of Transportation solicited bids in 2011. It selected Alta in September.

Alta was always the hometown favorite. It designs, deploys and manages bicycle share programs in Washington, D.C., Boston, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Melbourne, Australia. It is working to launch programs in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C.

The city intends to leverage a $2 million federal transportation grant to raise private funds to pursue the idea. Alta has said it would raise $5 million from sponsorship fees and revenue from members as well as day users.

Alta intends to deploy the 750 bicycles at 75 facilities stationed in public spaces around the city. It even set up a website where supporters could identify locations, which attracted thousands of suggestions.

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