BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The company that’s been planning to launch e-bikes into the Red Stick has announced it will launch the program in June. This is the second delay in the program’s launch.
After the initial mid-March launch date was pushed back to early May, the launch has now been delayed again to some time in June, the company announced in a press release Wednesday, May 8. The original launch date was in May. No specific date for launch was given.
Gotcha spokesperson Caroline Passe said the most recent delay was because the e-bike company wanted to better improve its bike lock design.
According to Lindsey Gray-West with Bantam Bike Strategy, the consulting firm for the ride sharing system, GOTCHA CEO recently visited stakeholders in Baton Rouge to inform them of the delay. Gray-West said the CEO told them the company wanted to improve the bike’s locking system.
West said the original lock design was confusing to the users. She thinks the new lock will be more streamlined and more user-friendly. She said it doesn’t have to do with how safe the bike is.
Gotcha plans to install 500 GPS-enabled e-bikes across 50 mobility hubs throughout the city, including the downtown area, Louisiana State University and Southern University.
To ride the bike, users will need to download the Gotcha app to find available bikes at the hubs. The app provides several payment options to ride on a daily, monthly or annual basis. There’s is also a subsidized annual cost option for riders.
Within the next two years, the bike share program will expand to 800 e-bikes and 80 stations.
Baton Rouge will be the second Louisiana city to launch a bicycle-sharing program. New Orleans started offering rented e-bikes in 2017.
“Supporting bike share is a perfect fit for our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians because these programs give communities a healthy, green, affordable way to get around,” said Michael Tipton, head of Community Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Blue Cross Foundation president. “Bike share programs have become popular around the country in recent years, and with Gotcha in Baton Rouge, along with Blue Bikes in New Orleans, we’re proud to help Louisiana join the movement – literally!”
Blue Cross is the presenting sponsor for the bike share system. Local agencies and departments are partnering with the e-bike system, including the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, BREC, LSU, SU and the Downtown Development District.