Launched in the fall of 2018, in its four years of operations (to October 2022) the Blue Bike SC bike share system has contributed to the City of Columbia’s transportation system by serving over 12,000 members and recording over 117,500 miles traveled, improving health benefits with users burning 11 million calories, and saving 48 tons in carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. The system has proven its viability even through the duration of the pandemic.
Since the launch of the Blue Bike SC system, trends in the bike share industry have seen an expansion of dockless and hybrid shared micromobility systems that allow users to park a device at, or closer to, their destination. There is also a shift to electrify shared micromobility systems with e-bikes and e-scooters. Many cities are also reconsidering the balance of their public-private partnership models with some programs being converted to permit-based models where private operators pay for the use of the right-of-way and take on cost responsibilities in exchange for program revenues.
Blue Bike SC is a docked bike share system with a mix of regular and e-bikes. The system was purchased with funds from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and an FTA grant obtained by The COMET, which is the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) for Richland County, the City of Columbia and Lexington County, SC. BlueCross BlueShield also provides funds to operate the program. The City of Columbia currently manages the contract with Bewegen, who is the vendor that operates, maintains, and promotes the Blue Bike SC system. This contract ends in June 2023. With the approaching contract deadline looming, the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG) in coordination with the City of Columbia, The COMET, City of Cayce, City of West Columbia, Town of Springdale, and the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), collaborated on this feasibility study. The Three Rivers Bike Share Expansion Feasibility Study expounds on the City of Columbia’s bike share plans and opportunities to expand the current Blue Bike SC system within its city limits; and explores opportunities to expand the Blue Bike SC or implement a new bike share system in the Cayce, West Columbia, and the Town of Springdale.
Three Rivers Bikeshare Plan – Draft Final