A new bike-sharing service is getting started in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.
Zagster, a Boston-based company that specializes in micro-mobility, is installing 13 bike racks in Grand Forks and two in East Grand Forks this week. Six at the University of North Dakota’s campus and one outside Grand Forks City Hall are already set up and being populated with bikes.
Grand Forks’ city government, plus a handful of private companies such as Altru hospitals and Hugo’s grocery stores, paid sponsorships to the company, whose business model, relies on that money.
Grand Forks agreed to pay Zagster $12,000 and is set to pay another $20,000 over the next two years. East Grand Forks leaders said they were generally on board with the service but stopped short of putting any city money toward it.
“We think bikeshare does bring a value to the community,” said Pete Haga, Grand Forks’ community and government relations officer.
Haga noted the system will make it easier for residents and visitors to tour the city’s Greenway and bike trail system and be a cheap and easy way for students to get around.
To use one of the bikes, residents will need to download a cellphone app and create a profile linked to a credit card. They’ll then need to use their phone to unlock a bike from its rack. The company charges $1 for a 15-minute trip, $10 for unlimited 30-minute trips over a month or $60 for unlimited 30-minute trips over a year. Students, faculty and staff at the university will pay half that.
Two more racks are set to be installed by years end in locations that have yet to be determined, which would bring the total count to 17.
The Grand Cities are one of only a few spots in the upper Midwest where the company has bikeshare systems. The closest municipality that uses Zagster is Superior, Wisc.
Other cities, such as Fargo, have a similar system furnished by a different company.