Strolling down the sidewalks of many North American cities, bike share stations have become a natural feature of the urban landscape — as banal as bus shelters or parking meters. They’re so easily overlooked we often forget that the continent’s first system, Montreal’s BIXI, only launched in 2009!
These systems may now be ubiquitous, but they still suffer from some growing pains. In particular, buying a pass and unlocking a bike can be an incredibly convoluted and tedious task, discouraging many would-be riders. Usually, those painful experiences have one infuriating culprit: bike share kiosks.
Whether it’s a long line of foreign tourists or a small unresponsive touch screen, most casual riders spend an ungodly amount of time paying for a pass and unlocking a bike. Even worse, it’s not a one-time thing; riders need to revisit that kiosk and redip their credit card every single time they rent a bike.
We believe that for bike sharing to attract a wider audience, renting a bike needs to be as easy as calling an Uber or booking a car2go. In other words, eliminate the kiosk and replace it with a smartphone. We’re happy to say that’s exactly what we’re doing.
After a succesful 3-week pilot in Aspen, CO this past October, we’re bringing bike share payment and unlocking to our second city, Columbus, OH, in partnership with PBSC and Motivate. Starting today, Columbusans have a radically simpler way to access CoGo bike sharing across their city.
How does it work exactly?
- As soon as you launch Transit App, you’ll see nearby bike share stations on the map. The fullness of the meter represents how many bikes and docks are available at each station.
- To unlock a bike, tap a nearby bike share pin. You can log in to your existing account, purchase a pass, or learn more about CoGO.
- For existing account holders, you can buy a pass instantly. Or, if you have an active pass, you can generate an unlock code for any station.
- Non-members are prompted to create an account and enter payment credentials. You only need to do this once!
- Once you buy a pass, you can choose to unlock a bike right away or save it for later. We also allow you to buy two passes simulatenously so you can get a bike for a friend.
- When you’re ready to ride, choose any available bike and enter the 5 digit unlock code to unlock it.