Zagster docking station. Courtesy photo: Zagster

Riverhead is joining Suffolk County’s bike share program, a new program launched this week in Babylon, Patchogue and Hampton Bays.

The program comes at no cost to the town, Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said, and will be operated by bike share company Zagster through a partnership with the county.

There will be six bike racks and 25 bikes placed in Riverhead, Jens-Smith said. Five of the racks will be placed in downtown Riverhead and with one will be at the EPCAL bike trail, she said.

Jonathan Keyes, director of downtown and transit-oriented development at the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning attended Tuesday night’s town board meeting, when the board authorized participation in the county program. He said the county is looking to deploy the bike share program in Riverhead “as soon as possible,” noting that it had already launched the program in three locations on Sunday.

The county’s initial launch is part of a two-year pilot program sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union and known as “Bethpage Ride.”

“Bike share programs are a popular and easy form of transportation that I am excited to bring to Riverhead,” Jens-Smith said. “These programs are an important part in the last-mile connection for public transportation, connecting people with Riverhead’s businesses, as well as making it easier for people to enjoy the recently completed Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bike Trail at EPCAL,” the supervisor said.

How it works

Users will be able to rent, locate, and unlock bikes using an app called Pace (App Store / Google Play) on their smart phones, then paying a fee based on their use of the bike, or they can sign up for a monthly or annual membership. Riders can pay $1 per 15 minutes, but can also opt for a monthly plan for $10 or a yearly plan for $60 per year. Both plans allow for unlimited trips of up to 30 minutes. College students, 18 years or older, and EBT recipients have the option to receive half off pricing. Users can pay by major credit cards or Paypal, or by using cash through “Paypal CASH” at participating locations.

Riders can pause their trip to stop at a local business, park, or other locations.

Riders can pick up and drop off bicycles at any public bike rack.

Bellone and representatives of Zagster and Bethpage Federal Credit Union unveiled bike docking stations in Babylon Village on Sunday.

“Bike share is here and ready to change the landscape of mobility and transportation in Suffolk,” Bellone said Monday. “We are effectively extending the reach of our existing transit system, and once out-of-reach locations are now within easy biking distance,” Bellone said.

One of the “Bethpage Ride” bike racks in the Village of Babylon.
Courtesy photo: Steve Bellone

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, the town board liaison to Riverhead’s alternative transportation committee said Tuesday night that the committee had been working on a bike share program “for many years” and had several meetings with several bike share companies.

“I’m happy when we asked the county to put out for an RFP county-wide, rather than townships getting different companies, that the county did put it out for an RFP and that we’re able to utilize this service,” Giglio said, adding that she hopes the EPCAL recreation trail will be the first site in town to get the bike rack.

A county spokesperson said the county has been working around the clock for the last two years to launch Long Island’s first regional bike share program.

“Thanks to early advocates, such as the Riverhead Town Board, we are able to bring Bethpage Ride to four different communities across Suffolk County,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the town board to support cycling in Riverhead.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.