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Can bike sharing work in Rochester? 

Students, faculty, and staff at Nazareth College and Rochester Institute of Technology can borrow a bicycle from a shared pool to get around on and off campus. The schools have bike-sharing programs, just like countless other campuses and cities across the world.

Public bike-sharing services, similar to those at Naz and RIT, could soon emerge in the Rochester area. The Genesee Transportation Council — the regional transportation planning organization for the nine counties around Rochester — is studying the feasibility of a regional bike-sharing program.

Planners and consultants are studying public interest in a potential program as well as demographic information, potential locations, financial factors, and possible benefits, says Rich Perrin, executive director of the Genesee Transportation Council.

"In short, we're looking at what is the business strategy to fund, set up, and operate a successful bike-sharing system in the Rochester area," Perrin says.

Right now, planners and consultants are looking at what people are willing to pay to use a bike-sharing service, among other data, Perrin says. They also want to hear from people who have experience with bike-sharing services, he says.

The GTC will hold its first public meeting on the project from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 19, at the Central Library's Kate Gleason Auditorium, 115 South Avenue. People will have a chance to learn about the study and to offer input at the meeting. The council also has a website devoted to the study, rocbikeshare.org.

The council hopes to finish the study by the end of the year, Perrin says.

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