Montgomery a step closer to approving bike share program

The Village of Montgomery is a step closer to participating in a Kane County-organized bike share program.

The village board questioned but voiced support for the program during a meeting Monday evening, Jan. 13.

The board, however, tabled a final vote on the agreement pending clarification of some provisions in a pending agreement with the county.

Under terms of the agreement, the village's first-year cost to participate in the program would be $6,320, excluding the cost for the installation of a bike rack outside Village Hall at 200 North River Street.

As proposed by the county, the village would have four bicycles available for rental via a smartphone app.

The county has retained Koloni, a bike-share company based in Iowa, to oversee the program.

Brian Dewey, Koloni co-founder, told the board his firm is a small company that started in 2016 by offering a bike share program near a trail in a town about the size of Montgomery in Iowa. Since that time, Dewey said his firm has grown and now offers similar programs in communities across the country and Canada.

Richard Young, the village's community development director, told the board that funds for the program could come from the village's capital improvement program (CIP) budget.

Young noted the village can offset its costs for the program through ridership fees and sponsorships.

Young said the cost to rent the bicycles has yet to be determined.

In a memo to the board, Young noted the village would pay an annual fee of $1,500 per bike and that the program's total cost does not include the cost for the bike rack or for village logos that would be displayed on the bicycles.

"We don't anticipate the ridership fees will generate a significant amount of revenue and we can offset some of those costs, but it (the program) will not be sustainable without support from the CIP budget from he village," Young said.

Young noted that bike share users would rent the bikes using an app on their smartphones, similar to bike share programs now in other Chicago area communities.

Young said Koloni would store the bikes over the winter.

Dewey told the board that his company would pay the cost for bikes that are damaged or stolen.

"It's not on you," he told the board. "You are paying, essentially, to have four bikes here (at Village Hall) at all times. It's not necessarily the ownership of the bike. You are paying to have this service here."

Dewey said he believes the county plans to charge ridership fees of about $4 for the first hour of use and $5 after that. In addition, he said, area residents could purchase memberships in the bike share program.

Dewey added that typically new programs like Kane County's are funded locally for the first year through a budget appropriation or a grant, but in subsequent years can be funded through local sponsorships.

"That's really what we would advocate for," he said.

When questioned by board member Denny Lee, Dewey said the bikes would be available from mid-April to Dec. 1, depending upon weather conditions.

Responding to a question from board member Doug Marecek, Dewey said program users would be able to check on the available and location of the bikes on the program app on their smartphone.

Dewey said village officials will be able to track how and where the bicycles are being used.