Kankakee County – Bike 609 would have been celebrating its’ two-year anniversary next week but soon, bikes and empty bike racks will be collected and returned to a Virginia-based leasing agent as part of the dissolution of bike share vendor, Zagster.
Partners from across the region came together to provide both residents and visitors an opportunity to explore Kankakee County on two wheels. Using an app, riders could rent one of 50 bikes at any of the programs’ 11 locations. Bike 609 generated close to 3,500 trips from its’ 1,500 members.
Dubbed the second-largest bike share program in Chicagoland in 2019, second only to Divvy, program coordinator Staci Wilken, Executive Director of the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau, was notified on May 27, 2020, by Zagster of an anticipatory breach of contract.
In an email from Zagster, it was noted that “the effects of COVID-19 on our communities has been
tragic. Sadly, the pandemic has also impacted Zagster’s business, and it is with heavy hearts that we must inform you that Zagster will no longer be providing bike share services in your community. This was a difficult decision but a necessary one, for which we are truly sorry.”
Wilken isn’t convinced that bike share in Kankakee County is over. “The termination of the program is not a reflection of the ridership or the ability of our region to sustain a 50-bike fleet. There are several worthy vendor candidates to consider once we turn the page from 2020 and I am hopeful that in the future our sponsors, and our riders, will consider hopping back in the saddle.”
Wilken stressed the importance of advocating for micro-mobility and sustainable transport options on a regional level.