South Beach Takes a Spin with Greener Transportation

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

While I may be a Miami local, for some reason I always fall into the touristy areas when it comes to weekend outings. I think it’s just the lure of living in a vacation destination. Regardless, I am absolutely ecstatic to say that Miami is now competing with larger, greener cities by introducing the DecoBike program. Tourists and Miami Beach locals alike can now easily and affordably maneuver through the crowded streets of South Beach, on rented bicycles that are available at terminals throughout the city.

What I love about the program is firstly, the affordability. For a quick ride around the city, whether for exercise or just to enjoy the ocean air, is only $5 an hour. And if you decide you want to stay out longer, keep the bicycle up to 24 hours total for $4 per 30 minute increment. Yes, this can get VERY expensive if you keep it out for too long, however this program is really meant as a means of transportation. There are docking stations located throughout South Beach and up into parts of North Beach, therefore just dock it wherever you head and pick it back up when you’re ready to jet off again.

What I also love about this program is the iPhone app they have. It shows all the different stations, on a map so they can be easily found, and also how many empty slots (for dropping off) or bikes are available to pick up. Here are some screenshots, it really is a very user-friendly interface:

         

My only qualm is that on my most recent trip, I did have a problem docking the bike (I wasn’t sure if it registered as being returned, and they charge you $675 for a lost bike). When attempting to dial the telephone number on the actual docking station, I found it was disconnected. I looked on the app and the website, and to my dismay they were all the same number, all disconnected. It has now been a couple of weeks since then, and I was not charged anything more than I should have been. All is well, but I hope they fix this soon.

Overall, DecoBike has been a welcome addition to the area. It is a fun way to spend an afternoon, a good way for tourists to see the sights and a great way to have cheap transportation for beach residents. If you are a resident of Miami Beach, they have a pass that is $15 month that offers unlimited 30 minute rides. However, I have spoken to many people in the area and the passes take a while to get and you are still charged the $4 per 30 minutes over if you forget to dock the bike. I think this is a great step towards independency from cars on the beach and I applaud Miami Beach for supporting this effort. This program is still in its infancy, and as it grows I’m sure the kinks will be worked out.

Miami Beach DecoBike:  http://www.decobike.com/index.php

UPDATE 17 JUNE 2011:

DecoBike (via Twitter) has advised that they were having troubles with Atlantic Broadband, but their telephone line is now working properly.

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