For me, the task of catching a cab from Temple in order to go to the city is not a simple feat. Walking down Broad Street in order to catch a cab has often left me waiting for at least twenty minutes and eventually calling the main dispatchers. Even with ride-sharing service Uber, I have often found that the “nearest car” is 10 minutes away.
Coming from Los Angeles, a city known and often mocked for its dependence on cars, times of arrival and direction are often based on traffic. While the city is built on sprawling landscape and the option for plentiful “alternative” public transportation options is there, the lifestyle just doesn’t support it. The city is seeking a reconstruction of the subway systems in order to make the city more connected, but for now, the main preference of transportation is to drive.
As a new transplant to this city, I’ve realized that part of my college experience is getting to learn from the city just as much from as from the school. From knowing how long it takes to get to a location, to how far the subway goes, there are many small idiosyncrasies that go into understanding a city.
The bike sharing system coming to Philadelphia in April will help facilitate another mode of transportation that will allow easy access between Temple and other parts of Philadelphia by picking up a bike in one location in the city and being able to drop it off at another Bike Share spot.
Temple students should be excited for this addition.
Alternative transportation is no stranger to Philadelphia, however the difference between ride-sharing and bike-sharing are the markets that are affected by their operation.
“Nearly a third of the taxis on the road aren’t adequately insured, and that’s a public safety hazard. Consumers demand and deserve access to safe rides, and that’s exactly what we’re providing,” Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said in a CBS News report from last October.
Edvard Petterson of Bloomberg News said, however, “the only taxis allowed to operate in the city are those that have an official certificate of public convenience and a medallion valued at as much as $520,000.”
Where ride-sharing companies spark a wide controversy due to the current strain the alternative companies are putting on Philadelphia taxis, Bike Share will support the growing market of bikers in the city.
The program will hopefully bring together Temple and the rest of Philadelphia, marketing a healthier addition to the city’s transit system, and an opportunity for new Philadelphians, like myself to get to know their city.
“We want to make sure we’re not negatively affecting other transportation. [Bike sharing is] a good way of getting people around without providing more motor vehicles,” said Aaron Ritz, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Planner for the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, in a recent interview with Temple News.
According to the Philadelphia bike sharing website, “Philadelphia will launch with 60 stations in Spring 2015, and intends to expand the system with an additional 60 stations in Spring 2016.”
Similar programs exist around the world, and popular American cities that see a lot of tourist influx, like New York, are seeking to add 6,000 more bikes to their programs because of its success.
Philadelphia’s current proposed plan to start with the 60 locations and expand as time goes on further explains the investment in the city.
Main Campus will host three of those proposed stations – 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue, North Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue and on 13th and Norris streets – that will not only encourage travel, but exercise and exploration.
This system of bike sharing coming to Main Campus is much needed in the face of the questionable Uber cars and proposed construction to subway stations in the coming years.
Bike Share will offer an alternative to Philadelphia’s transit system, allowing a safe, enjoyable ride to many points throughout the city. The program should be welcomed and used by Temple students as a way to get to know their city.
Keeland Bowers can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org