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Pittsburgh bike share system rolls off to 'healthy' start

| Friday, June 5, 2015, 5:43 p.m.

Pittsburgh Bike Share tallied 1,500 trips, more than 2,000 registered users and a few technical difficulties in its first week of operation.

The nonprofit operator of Healthy Ride Pittsburgh says 29 bike share stations opened since the system's soft rollout May 31. Fifty stations are planned citywide, and the goal is to have the system running by the end of June.

Some users reported seeing instructions at the digital kiosks in German instead of English. Other riders attempted to dock bikes at stations that weren't open. Erin Potts, director of marketing and community outreach for Pittsburgh Bike Share, said the issues are being resolved as they arise.

Operators, she said, are testing the stations and system. Bike Share staff members are manning the stations to help users navigate the signup and rental system.

“There's certainly going to be some technical glitches that we have to handle as they come in,” Potts said, “but we're just trying to keep up with everything and get out to the stations.”

The organization said in a news release that it is working on the system to allow users to pay for rentals, $2 for 30 minutes, at station kiosks. Right now, registered users can rent the bikes by entering their information directly on one of the bikes through a digital keypad mounted on the back. Alternatively, they can use a QR code scanner in the “nextbike” smartphone app.

New bike-share systems are often plagued with technical kinks, said Eric Boerer, advocacy director for Bike Pittsburgh. Boerer said he expects more users to join the system as it becomes available.

“It seems like they're actively working on it,” Boerer said.

Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 or mdaniels@tribweb.com.

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