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Updated: May 28, 2021

Portland seeks proposals for city bike-share program

Person on bike in Portland Photo / Jim Neuger Portland may attract more people to cycling, like this rider crossing York Street near the Casco Bay bridge in June 2020, if a city bike-share program is launched.

Seeking to boost cycling in Maine's largest city, Portland on Thursday issued a request for proposals for a public bike-share program that would start on a trial basis by June 2022.

Specifically, the city is looking for companies interested in providing design, marketing, operation and maintenance of a program to encourage cycling as a safe, sustainable mode of transportation. 

Proposals are due by June 16, and can target the entire city or a smaller area to start with, using traditional as well as electric bikes, which are strongly encouraged.

If Portland goes ahead with the plan, it would join a growing number of cities offering shared bikes or scooters to individuals for short journeys. A total of 136 million so-called micromobility trips were made in 2019, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

Programs vary widely and include both "docked" bikes and dockless systems. A successful bike-sharing example is Boston's Bluebike program, which has offered free passes to essential workers during the pandemic.

“Expanded ways for people to safely bike in Portland is consistently mentioned by residents as something they value and hope to see more of,” said Christine Grimando, Portland's planning and urban development director, in a news release. "Having a bike share system in Portland will be a fantastic opportunity for us to increase affordable, healthy transit and recreation options for all."

The system’s configuration may be dockless, station-based or a combination or hybrid system. for bikes available on demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week through various membership options, according to the specs.

The selected provider would be responsible for all aspects of the program, including system planning, permitting, design, equipment purchases, construction and installation, pre-launch and ongoing marketing, operations and maintenance, ongoing customer service, financial transaction handling, dispute resolution, and evaluation and reporting.

City officials noted that Portland has a robust multimodal transportation system for a city of its size, with growing bike and trail network. It currently includes 22 miles of bike lanes, nine miles of shared use pathways and 5.5 miles of bicycle boulevards with additional miles of each type in planning and design.

More information

For those who are interested, copies of the request for proposal are available from the city of Portland's Purchasing Department via email at or phone at 207-874-8654.

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