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Residents and visitors to York City can expect to see an influx of cyclists on the roads as the city announces a new bike-sharing program.

City officials will kick off the program at 11 a.m. Friday at the York County Heritage Rail Trail and King Street bikeway near the Rabbit Transit transfer center.

The program will start with 14 bikes and three bike stations across the city, but officials at the city’s Bureau of Health will be monitoring ridership and program-user behavior in the hopes of expanding the program in the future, said Craig Walt, community health services supervisor for the bureau.

“Our approach here is starting small and really pay attention to how the system is used, and then respond from there,” Walt said.

Zagster app: Anyone who wants to borrow a bike can pick one up at stations near the King Street bikeway, the Central Market parking garage and at the corner of North George and North streets.

Riders can return the bikes to any of the locations when they are finished, Walt said.

The program is run by national bike-sharing company Zagster’s free mobile app, which allows riders to claim a bike and pay for it online. Zagster bikes are equipped with built-in safety measures, including lights, reflectors and a bell, as well as a Bluetooth-enabled locking mechanism, Walt said.

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Riders have two options for renting one of the bikes. They can purchase an annual membership for $20 or pay $3 per hour without a membership, Walt said.

For those who purchase annual memberships, any ride under two hours is free. After two hours, riders will pay $2 per hour, Walt said, adding that an annual membership will quickly pay for itself for repeat riders.

Focus on health: The first phase of the bike-sharing program is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant program, and York City officials will look to enter partnerships or sponsorships to expand the program. 

Officials are focusing their efforts on making York City a more walkable and bikeable city and trying to make it easier for residents to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines, Walt said.

“There’s a lot of focus right now on trying to create a healthy, vibrant and active city community. This definitely is a part of that picture,” he said. 

More information about how York City's new bike-sharing program works can be found on Zagster's website

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