A year after officially launching, the Milwaukee bike share company, Bublr Bikes, has big plans for the future. The company’s distinctive blue bicycles can be rented at 11 locations now, but the company plans on having 50 locations by the end of 2016 and around 100 locations by 2018.
"It's been very exciting," says Bublr Bikes Executive Director Kevin Hardman. "A year ago, I was the only employee of the organization, and we now have two other full-time staff and an additional nine part-time staff."
Bublr offers rentals in 30 minute increments for walk-up users, as well as unlimited 60-minute rides to members for a flat monthly fee. Many of Bublr’s members park near the Intermodal Station and bike into downtown for work. But the goal for Hardman and Bublr is to expand beyond the downtown commuter bubble and create a mode of public transportation that is as accessible and widespread as the bus.
"We're creating a public transportation asset, and in order to do that you need to spread out into Milwaukee neighborhoods," Hardman says. "And not just Milwaukee neighborhoods...we are intently focusing on building a regional system here."
In order to build a regional system, Bublr Bikes is actively seeking locations in all Milwaukee area neighborhoods in order to truly achieve their goal of providing a convenient and integrated travel option for everyone.
"Our mission is that we're going to build an excellent bike share system for all...And we know in order to do that we have to expand out from our downtown beginnings concentrically into the neighborhoods, regardless of the neighborhood..We've got to make sure we understand what those neighborhoods want, where they want the stations to go, and what those barriers are in those neighborhoods to using Bublr," says Hardman.
"There's just something special about being on a bicycle in an urban place...you just see the place differently," he adds.