A private company hopes to begin building a local bike share system as soon as this July, according to Grand Forks city staff.

The effort is three years in the making, said Community and Government Relations Officer Pete Haga, who listed Altru Health Systems, Grand Forks Public Health, the city of East Grand Forks and UND as other stakeholders.

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"Things like bike share ... are among the things people are looking for now when making decisions on where they want to live," Haga said .

On Monday, council members preliminarily agreed to pay private company Zagster a $12,000 sponsorship to begin installing a bike share system this summer. For 12 to 15 bike stations holding 50 to 70 bikes, Haga reported Zagster's network will require a total investment of $110,000 to $135,000 per year.

Other contributors could include UND, East Grand Forks or the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, Haga said. The company is still in the process of securing a "title sponsor."

In Zagster's proposal, a Grand Forks bike share system will charge $1 per 15 minute trips," Haga said. Users will have the option of buying a $10 pass for one month of unlimited 30 minute trips, or they could purchase a $60 pass for a year of unlimited 30 minute rides.

The company has proposed special rates for UND students.

Should the council officially approve Zagster's request next Monday, May 20, Haga said the city will pay for its sponsorship through an amendment to the city's Street and Infrastructure budget. Zagster also requested a total $20,000 from the city for years 2 and 3 of the program.

"Biking is one of these great ways to explore a community," said Haga, calling the mode of transportation more effective than walking and more intimate than driving. Most useful of all, Haga said, is the data Zagster will collect and share with city staff regarding where people are riding the bikes, their points of origin, destinations and times.