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ValleyBike Bikeshare Will Return This Month After Year-Long Hiatus

A bikesharing station kiosk with four parked bikes in a sheltered passageway of a concrete building. The kiosk has a sign that says "Holyoke Community College" and an ad that says "ride an electric-assist bike"

A ValleyBike dock on the Holyoke Community College campus. Courtesy of the City of Holyoke.

ValleyBike, the regional bikesharing system that spans from the UMass Amherst campus to the City of Springfield, will reopen for business under a new operator before the end of May, according to officials from the City of Northampton.

ValleyBike has been out of service for over a year after the private firm that handled day-to-day operations went out of business.

In the year since then, ValleyBike's municipal owners, led by planning staff at the City of Northampton, have been scrambling to find a replacement while the ValleyBike fleet sat unused in a city warehouse.

After issuing a request for proposals earlier this spring, Northampton officials today issued a press release announcing that they had entered into a contract with a new operator, Drop Mobility, a Toronto-based company which also operates bikesharing systems in New Orleans, Tulsa, and Albany, among other cities.

Like Bluebikes, the ValleyBike system is owned by municipalities and one university in its service area – Springfield, West Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, Easthampton, Northampton, South Hadley, and Amherst, plus the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

But those cities and towns rely on a private operator to handle day-to-day operations, customer service, and maintenance for the system (the Bluebikes system in eastern Massachusetts has a similar structure, where municipalities own the bikes and stations, but contract with Lyft to operate the system).

“We are so excited to be able to relaunch this transportation system in the Valley for all communities, and we look forward to forging new and expanded partners who will join the system and participate in its success!,” said Carolyn Misch, the City of Northampton's Director of Planning & Sustainability, in a press release issued Thursday morning.

“We areecstatic that we have found a vendor that shares our commitment to making bike share a successful transportation mode," added Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra. "We look forward to this next phase of ValleyBike Share, and to expanding to more communities."

Before its shutdown, Valleybike had been in talks to add more municipalities into its system, with new stations planned for the City of Westfield and additonal conversations with the Town of Hadley.

ValleyBike ridership increased from just under 80,000 trips in its launch year of 2019 to over 100,000 trips in 2021 and 2022.

The system was particularly popular in Amherst and its university campus, which together generated 40,849 bike trips in 2022.

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