Ready to Ride: YoGo Bikeshare Launches a New Way to Get Around Youngstown | News, Sports, Jobs


YOUNGSTOWN — A start-up mobility company is set to launch a new mode of transportation downtown — which they say will provide residents and visitors with an inexpensive and healthy way to get around the city.

YoGo Bikeshare plans to roll out 30 e-bikes available at multiple docking stations starting in March, but that’s just the start, its operators said.

The goal is to eventually release 80 bikes across all sides of Youngstown.

The growth plan also includes moving into Greater Youngstown communities, like Boardman, and possibly working with the area’s transit provider, Western Reserve Transit Authority, to create a transportation spokesperson for this agency.

It would be “where you can cycle to the bus station and dock your bike there and get on the bus,” said Ronnell Elkins, President.

“We’ve seen it work in other areas as well, so we’re excited to try and implement a few things and work with the transit authority here to create this ecosystem that anyone can use” , he said.

The growth plan is 10% per year, “something very doable” and purpose from the get-go,” said Kent Wallace II, vice president of operations.

“Based on what we’ve seen in the bike share industry as a whole, that’s kind of the pace it’s taking,” said Wallace. “The bike share industry is growing at about 10% right now. It will likely be an industry of about $11 billion by 2025.”

HOW IT WORKS

Bike sharing – a new concept in the Mahoning Valley – is a mode of transportation that allows users to rent a bike for a short period of time.

For YoGo Bikeshare, users can rent a bike at a docking station through their app, drive to their destination, and park the bike at another docking station.

The company has subscriptions on several levels, from the $90 annual subscription which gives passengers 30 minutes with unlimited rides, to the occasional rider which costs $4 for 20 minutes, and the daily rate between $7.50 for 20 minutes with unlimited rides in eight hours. daytime.

Each tier offers new passengers a free trial ride of up to 20 minutes and charges of up to 15 cents per minute for overtime charges.

The company received concept approval from the city’s Design Review Board in early August to install the bicycle charging stations.

Four docking stations are planned: at Youngstown Flea, 365 E. Boardman St.; CycWard Bike Shop, 1205 Elm St., near Kress Lot; 111 W. Federal St., and at the corner of Champion and East Federal streets.

Elkins said all the bikes, which cost between $1,500 and $2,000, are in hand; Cycward assembles them. Docking stations should arrive soon.

On Thursday morning, Elkins and Wallace drove through downtown on Federal Street from Youngstown Flea to the WRTA station at the intersection of Fifth Avenue. No less than six people stopped them to chat, curious about bikes and bike sharing.

It happens all the time when they take the bikes out, they said.

This is “how do you get these?” Where “where do you hire them?” » it starts the conversation, which leads to how bikesharing works, Elkins said.

The bikes are heavy, weighing around 70 pounds each. They’re built that way intentionally, Elkins said, to withstand the daily wear and tear of constant use. Each will cover around 100 miles on a single charge and come equipped with GPS monitors and pedal assist, which provides power from a motor to help pedaling easier.

Each tier offers new passengers a free trial ride of up to 20 minutes and charges of up to 15 cents per minute for overtime charges.

The company received concept approval from the city’s Design Review Board in early August to install the bicycle charging stations.

Four docking stations are planned: at Youngstown Flea, 365 E. Boardman St., CycWard Bike Shop, 1205 Elm St., near the Kress lot, 111 W. Federal St., and at the corner of Champion and East Federal streets.

Elkins said all the bikes, which cost between $1,500 and $2,000, are in hand; Cycward assembles them. Docking stations are expected to arrive in the very near future.

On Thursday morning, Elkins and Wallace drove downtown on Federal Street from Youngstown Flea to the WRTA station at the intersection of Fifth Avenue. No less than six people stopped them to chat, curious about bikes and bike sharing.

It happens all the time when they take the bikes out, they said.

This is “how do you get these?” Where “where do you hire them?” » it starts the conversation, which leads to how bikesharing works, Elkins said.

The bikes are heavy, weighing around 70 pounds each. They’re built that way intentionally, Elkins said, to withstand the daily wear and tear of constant use. Each will cover around 100 miles on a single charge and come equipped with GPS monitors and pedal assist, which provides power from a motor to help pedaling easier.

BEGIN

Elkins was in Washington, DC, in 2017, and used Capital Bikeshare there, and wondered if the concept would work in his hometown.

He came back and told his dad, who did a little research and spoke occasionally that “we should do something like this, bring something like this to Youngstown,” said Elkins.

Time passed and nothing materialized until 2019, when Elkins and his brothers, Wallace II and Paris Wallace, and their father, Kent Wallace, as business partners began looking seriously for sharing companies. of bicycles.

Elkins said they were in touch with the Youngstown Business Incubator, who referred them to Valley Economic Development Partners for funding.

Valley Partners loaned the company $174,000 in seed capital. Additionally, all four partners contributed some of their own money to get started.

“It’s been a huge boost for us, because often when you’re undertaking these endeavors, one of the hardest things to do is trying to get funding,” said Elkins. “For us to receive this early enough was an appreciation of what YBI helped us with in terms of the preparation we needed to have to get into something like this. Seeing him come together was great for us.

Elkins and Wallace II say bringing this carpool program to Youngstown is huge, partly because it’s their hometown and because they’re the first to do it.

It also helps change the mindset and identity of Youngstown as a former steel town and an evolving and innovative community.

“I’m not saying we’re going to change the overall vision of Youngstown with the bikes, but it gives people the mindset to say, hey these guys are doing something different that we’ve never seen before , how can we add to that, how can we complement what they do? » said Elkins.



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