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Want to power up your pedaling? Philly adding 400 electric bikes to Indego fleet

Philadelphia: get ready to see more bright blue Indego bikes zipping through the streets this summer.

The city’s bike share initiative announced Thursday that it will expand its electric bike pilot with 400 pedal assist bikes, after a successful test-run.

Indego started the e-bike experiment in November with just 10 pedal-assist bikes. Indego officials studied use patterns over a four month period to see how people responded to the new option  — and if the could e-bikes could withstand the streets of Philadelphia. The results impressed city officials.

“We saw that the Indego electric bikes were ridden up to 10 times as often as the standard bikes,” said Mike Carroll, deputy managing director of the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability. “And they traveled to every station across the city.”

The bikes can reach a top speed of 17 miles per hour. That’s not exactly face warping, but riders, be warned: Lyft recently pulled their e-bikes out of service in three cities including New York due to braking problems that projected unsuspecting riders over the handlebars.

Aaron Ritz, transportation systems manager in the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, said Philly’s bikes come vetted for safety.  Indego did their due diligence with the bike manufacturer B-Cycle, which is owned by Trek, whose bikes carry price tags in the thousands, Ritz said.

“Thing number one is that the equipment has been well tested upfront and that we also know from Trek and from our operations team, there’s a good procedure in place to make sure it doesn’t just start out good but it stays in good quality throughout the life of the bicycle,” he said.

“We haven’t received any complaints of safety during our pilot, which is definitely one of the reasons we decided to go forth and increase the number of bikes,”said Waffiyyah Murray, who manages the city’s Better Bike Share Partnership Program.

As the city prepares for dockless e-bikes, Indego will also add 12 new stations to its existing 130. Ritz kept mum about the exact locations, but says they’ll be focused on high-traffic areas. The locations will be announced on social media, he said.

Indego expects to start rolling the bikes out in late May.

Catching a ride on the electric bikes will cost an additional 15 cents per minute or five cents per minute for Access pass holders. The cost of day passes will also be increased to provide access to the e-bikes, he said.

About the author

Darryl C. Murphy, staff reporter

Darryl C. Murphy is PlanPhilly's transportation and mobility reporter. He is a 2017 graduate of Temple University and originally from South Jersey.



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