More than a month after a bike-sharing program at Meridian International Business Center was launched, Eric Hecox was excited about what he was seeing. “The usership we’re seeing now is double …
More than a month after a bike-sharing program at Meridian International Business Center was launched, Eric Hecox was excited about what he was seeing.
“The usership we’re seeing now is double what they initially expected,” said Hecox, general manager for the Meridian Metro District. “We’re blowing that out of the water.”
M-Bike officially started in late September, giving residents and employees access to 50 bikes at 11 docking stations installed across the roughly 1,600-acre Meridian International Business Center, near where I-25 meets E-470 in northern Douglas County.
Meridian, home to businesses that include Fortune 500 companies, as well as residents, paired with bike-share veteran Zagster. Cyclists can download the Zagster app and from their smartphone unlock the bike at any time of day.
“What we wanted to do was provide it as an amenity for those who live and work in Meridian, and those coming in to visit,” said Hecox.
The program, currently underwritten by Meridian, defrays costs by recruiting local businesses to purchase advertisements and bicycle stations.
“We’ve been out working with tenants in the area to get cost-share partners,” Hecox said. “What we really want to do is make it accessible.”
Employees at Toastmasters, an organization that helps develop communication and speaking skills, and the engineering company CH2M now ride for free since the companies paired up to purchase a station at that campus.
“They brought the program to us to see if we were interested and we agreed to take part,” said Linda Weber, CH2M’s regional facilities operations manager. “Since Toastmaster is the company that has a building close to the CH2M campus we invited them to join in, too.”
As part of the partnership, the CH2M brand gets more exposure.
“We have our logo on the front of the bike basket and it is fun to see bikes throughout the Meridian Business Park with our name showing,” Weber said. “It makes you wonder who is riding the bikes with our logo on them.”
One of the most integral parts of the program, Hecox said, is RTD’s Lincoln Station, near Park Meadows Drive and I-25, which serves commuters on their “last mile.”
The program is unique because while bike sharing is a popular concept, most programs are offered by a city, like Denver or Seattle, or by an employer, such as Google or Charles Schwab. Hecox said Meridian is the only business park in Colorado, and the second in the nation, to offer this service.
While Phase I, which cost about $90,000, moves forward better than expected, plans for Phase II are underway with a push to seek business and residential partnerings and plans to double the number of bicycles.
The Meridian’s landscapers are responsible for keeping bikes evenly distributed when they notice too many bikes at apartments, CH2M or the light rail station, which is where Hecox has noticed the largest usage.
“CH2M is very big on sustainability,” Weber said. “Since the M-Bikes have been delivered we have had employees sign up for the program who ridden bikes on their lunch hour to visit restaurants or just to take a ride for some exercise. Adding the M-Bike program just seemed to be the right thing to do for our employees.”