Last updateFri, 19 Aug 2016 9am

Public bike system expands dramatically

Two years after its inception, Guadalajara’s public bicycle system, Mi Bici, inaugurated a huge expansion Thursday — a doubling of both the number of rentable bikes and the areas served.

For weeks, the coming of the labor-intensive extension was heralded by the appearance of new, solar-powered kiosks and stations outside the core areas of downtown Guadalajara and Zapopan, with stations appearing along far-flung streets in Chapalita and Tlaquepaque — but still bikeless.

“The bicycles are here but they’re in storage,” a Mi Bici maintenance worker told a curious passerby weeks ago.

But that changed Thursday, along with a jump in the time permitted per ride from 30 to 45 minutes. (Users, whether buying annual memberships or temporary passes, may take as many 45-minute rides as they wish, and in order not to incur extra charges, must return the bike to any station within the time limit and wait 1-5 minutes before taking a bike for another 45-minute ride.)

The expansion represents the fruition of the brainchild of organized young cyclists who, modeling Mi Bici on similar systems worldwide, hoped it would reduce urban auto traffic. These visionaries prided themselves on getting local government, in this case Jalisco, to take on such a program.

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