An electric-powered bicycle sharing program is coming to St. Augustine late this summer.
The city has contracted with Gotcha to roll out approximately 100 e-bikes across the city, at no cost to taxpayers.
Flagler Health+ is covering the $100,000 cost of the rollout, and the e-bikes will be branded with Flagler Health+ logos.
The electrically assisted bicycles have a battery range of about 40 miles.
Gotcha representatives will be able to monitor the locations of the GPS-enabled e-bikes and swap out batteries whenever one is getting low. The e-bikes have a top speed of 20 mph.
“The real benefit of an e-bike, or pedal assist bike, as they’re kind of referred to in the industry, is it helps make up the difference you need while you're pedaling. So if you're pedaling up the hill, it helps make up that difference to make it easier for the rider,” said Gotcha founder and CEO Sean Flood.
Gotcha is still working with the city on the final pricing for customers.
Flood confirmed Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay will be accepted for those with smartwatches or smartphones, as well as credit cards.
The city and Gotcha are working with local retailers to come up with a program where people will be able to use cash to buy cards that can then be used with the e-bikes.
Customers will be able to use the Gotcha app to locate available bikes at mobility hubs.
“We are extremely pleased to partner with the city of St. Augustine and Gotcha to bring this health and mobility solution to the area,” said Jason Barrett, president and CEO of Flagler Health+. “This program supports our vision to advance the physical, social, and economic health of the communities we serve, by promoting active living while also positively impacting mobility for local residents.”
Although Gotcha’s agreement is with the city of St. Augustine, riders will be able to take the e-bikes beyond the city limits to St. Augustine Beach or other nearby areas.
“Tourists or locals could easily make that trip safely on the new Gotcha bike,” said Flood.
“The real goal with bike share is to replace single occupancy car trips,” he said, adding, “traffic congestion is an issue. So by providing an e-bike, it really allows consumers to replace that car, and use a bike as a commuting option.”