September 7, 2017

Marlborough starts five-station bike-share program

Cambridge's Zagster has added 30 bikes at five stations in Marlborough.

Marlborough's push to draw bigger-city features is paying off. First, the city drew a brewpub after making appeals for one. Now, it has a bike-share program with 30 bikes across five stations.

The program, by the Cambridge company Zagster, opened for Marlborough's Labor Day Parade. It includes stations at the Assabet River Rail Trail (just south of Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School), the Walker Building on Main Street downtown, Marlborough Hills (by Hilton Garden Inn off Forest Street), Embassy Suites Hotel on Route 20 and Marlboro Commons on Route 20.

The program is the result of a transportation study conducted last year by the Marlborough Economic Development Corp., which found that businesses and residents were interested in alternative transportation options such as bikes. The city sought out a partnership with Zagster, and the Marlborough Economic Development Corp. has managed the program's implementation.

The program is a two-year pilot, MEDC said.

Membership in the bike program is $25 per year, $12 per month, or $6 for three days. Bike trips under three hours are free for program members. Single rides for non-members are $2 per hour, or up to $20 per ride. Riders must be 18 or older.

A website gives riders updates to how many bikes are available at each station.

Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant said in a statement that residents have limited transportation options because the city isn't directly connected to the MBTA commuter rail system. That's led the city to look for alternatives to reduce traffic and create better connections across Marlborough.

Meredith Harris, the executive director of the MEDC, said increasing the city's transportation options has been a top priority for the development agency. Many businesses and residents MEDC talked to said they wanted a bike-share program, she said.

The MEDC was also recently successful in bringing a brewpub to downtown Marlborough. After it offered $25,000 toward rent and equipment, two brewers came forward to set up Walden Woods Brewery. Production is scheduled to start this fall, with a taproom set to open by the end of the year at 277 Main St.

Zagster operates more than 160 bike-share programs in 35 states, including Burlington, Chelmsford and Westwood among others in Massachusetts.


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