South Carolina company selected for Baton Rouge bikeshare program

    A selection committee has chosen The Gotcha Group of Charleston, South Carolina, to implement the Baton Rouge bikeshare program.

    The vendor will be announced at the Metro Council meeting Wednesday and a public hearing will be held at the Oct. 10 meeting. If the Metro Council approves, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome will execute a contract with The Gotcha Group in an amount not to exceed $801,000, according to next week’s council meeting agenda.

    The mayor’s office says it will release more details about the group’s proposal Wednesday ahead of the meeting, including images of the type of bikes to be used.

    The city-parish issued a request for equipment vendor proposals in July. Aside from The Gotcha Group, three firms submitted proposals:

    • Veoride Inc. of Chicago
    • P3 Global Management and RideOn of New York
    • Zagster Inc. of Boston

    A four-person committee “completed an independent review and scoring process” and choose The Gotcha Group as the “clear winner,” according to a memorandum filed by Department of Transportation and Drainage Director Fred Raiford. It’s unclear who served on the selection committee.

    The Gotcha Group has more than 30 bikeshare and rideshare systems deployed in 16 states, including several college campuses, such as the University of Oklahoma, Auburn University and UNC-Chapel Hill, according to the company.

    In Baton Rouge, the group would install bike racks and rental docks and operate and maintain the bikeshare program. The initial launch will include 50 docks and 500 bikes, eventually growing to 80 docks and 800 bikes. The bikes will be located at LSU, Southern University, downtown, Mid City, north Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Health District.

    The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is providing $600,000 in funding for the program. The city-parish has said it would match the remaining costs, up to $260,000.

    The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has been one of the driving forces behind the initiative. BRAF paid for a bikeshare business plan in 2016 and created the Baton Rouge BikeShare nonprofit charged with implementing the program.

    The service is expected to begin next spring if the program receives all required approvals.

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