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Pittsburgh bike share rates will be $4 per hour, officials say; Highmark mum on extent of support

| Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 12:15 p.m.
Lora Matway, an intern in the Department of City Planning's bicycle and pedestrian office, examines a bike that will be used in Pittsburgh's new bike sharing program during a news conference Downtown on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. The program, which will make 500 bikes available for rent, is scheduled to launch in May.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Lora Matway, an intern in the Department of City Planning's bicycle and pedestrian office, examines a bike that will be used in Pittsburgh's new bike sharing program during a news conference Downtown on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. The program, which will make 500 bikes available for rent, is scheduled to launch in May.
The on-board computer on a bike that will be used in Pittsburgh's new bike sharing program during a news conference Downtown on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. The program, which will make 500 bikes available for rent, is scheduled to launch in May.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
The on-board computer on a bike that will be used in Pittsburgh's new bike sharing program during a news conference Downtown on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. The program, which will make 500 bikes available for rent, is scheduled to launch in May.

Healthy Ride, Pittsburgh's long-delayed bike-share initiative, will debut in May with 500 bicycles at 50 docking stations throughout the city, said David White, executive director of Bike Share Pittsburgh, a nonprofit created to operate the program.

Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Allegheny Health Network are the program's title sponsors, but officials declined to say how much Highmark would contribute to the program. Highmark's logo will appear on the bicycles and kiosks.

The venture is funded through a $1.6 million federal highway grant and at least $1.2 million from foundations. That money will pay for the first five years of the program, White said.

Bart Yavorosky, former executive director of Pittsburgh Bike Share, found it odd that Highmark would keep the value of its sponsorship secret.

“I'm not aware of a city that has a title sponsor where the value of the sponsorship isn't known,” he said.

“The norm is that title sponsors have revealed the level of their commitment. Most companies are proud of it,” Yavorosky added.

Dan Onorato, Highmark Health's executive vice president, said, “Highmark's support of Healthy Ride is an extension of our commitment to improving the health and well-being of those living in and around Pittsburgh.”

Users will rent a bike from a station and drop it off at another station after a short ride. Rates will be $2 per half hour.

Healthy Ride is one of the most affordable bike share programs in the United States, said White, who noted that Philadelphia charges $8 an hour for its program.

Most docking stations will be Downtown and in Oakland, but White hopes to expand to other parts of the city.

The bike share program has been beset with delays since former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced it in 2013.

It was scheduled to begin last year, but a contract for bike and docking station purchase and installation had to be rebid because of a conflict with state Department of Transportation bidding procedures.

Tony Raap is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7827 or traap@tribweb.com.

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