By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, March 23rd at 10:20 AM, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes inaugurated a new bike station near the Port Zone’s MAR (Museu de Arte do Rio) , one of Rio’s newest art museums. The station is part of a BikeRio expansion project that is scheduled to include twenty additional stations in total and should add 2,000 bicycles to the bike-sharing program.
BikeRio is a sustainability program enacted by the city which provides bicycles to promote more cycling as a means of transportation in Rio and to encourage healthier lifestyles.
A partnership between the city, Samba/Serttel and Itaú Unibanco, the bicycles are commonly referred to as “laranjinhas” (oranges) due to their orange coloring associated with Itaú Unibanco.
The project has already placed 600 bicycles at sixty points in fourteen districts of Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone). The expansion is scheduled to include an additional nineteen new stations in: Rio’s downtown, Catumbi, Estácio, Cidade Nova and the Port Zone, as well as Tijuca, Vila Isabel, Maracanã and the surrounding area. The expansion will also extend to Barra da Tijuca and other Zona Sul neighborhoods.
“This is the beginning of a process of expansion,” Mayor Eduardo Paes said during the bike station’s inauguration on Sunday. “We have 600 bikes today in the city, and we will turn that into 2,600 bikes, as the project will go to every neighborhood in the West Zone, in the North Zone and in the Baixada de Jacarepaguá.”
The city currently has more than 250km of bicycle paths, and according to Mayor Paes, an additional 17km of bike paths and bike lanes are scheduled for the city’s Port Zone. “These bike lanes will be ready by 2016,” said Paes. “They are a big part of the renovations and improvement to the Port Zone.”
The twenty stations currently in operation are open from 6AM to 10PM. Each rider can make monthly payments of R$10 or daily payments of R$5 to use the bikes for one-hour periods.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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