Zagster, a company that aims to be to bike-sharing what Zipcar is to car-sharing, said its bikes are now available to passengers getting off the Amtrak Downeaster in Portland, Maine.
According to Zagster, its bikes are an ideal way for tourists and day-trippers to explore Portland and the surrounding area.
Zagster, which has offices in Cambridge, said this bike-sharing program is the result of a partnership with the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, or NNEPRA, which manages the Amtrak Downeaster.
“Initially, 10 Breezer bikes will be available on-demand at the Portland Transportation Center, located at 100 Thompson Point Road in Portland, for up to a 24-hour period for just $20,’’ Zagster said in a press release. “Each bike contains a bike lock with the key stored inside a lock box. After joining Zagster at www.zagster.com,riders simply text ‘start’ plus the bike number (e.g. ‘start 46’) to a phone number. A confirmation message with the access code for the lock box is texted back. This action reserves the bike for the remainder of the day or until the bike is returned. Riders text ‘end’ to the same number, which releases the bike for the next rider.’’
The bikes are equipped with baskets large enough to accommodate a picnic lunch or shopping bags from a shopping spree, Zagster said.
Part of Zagster’s business model is to convince property owners such as hotel managers and apartment building landlords that having an on-the-premises bike-sharing station is a desirable amenity for hotel guests and building residents. Earlier this year, for example, Cambridge Discovery Park, a roughly 30-acre office-and-research campus located near the Alewife MBTA station, began offering Zagster’s bike-sharing service.
The railway authority partnership is the first time that Zagster has installed one of its bike-sharing stations at a transportation hub, a company spokesman said. If results warrant, Zagster might pursue similar opportunities in the future.