Fort Smith launches "Ride 4 Smilies" program
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
The City of Fort Smith launched its “Ride 4 Smilies” bike-share program Thursday. The program gives residents of Fort Smith more affordable options for transportation.
The program is sponsored by various organizations including the University of Arkansas, Frontier MPO, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, and Tandem Mobility. They seek to take advantage of the booming “Shared Micromobility Services'' (SMM) industry, following in the footsteps of Fayetteville’s VeoRide bike share program that started in 2019.
“As these [small and mid-sized cities in rural areas] offer only limited public transportation options, low-income residents living in those areas may struggle to access jobs and essential services,” the program website states. “Thus, transportation solutions that consider but do not rely on transit to improve the accessibility of low-income workers in small and mid-sized cities in rural areas should be investigated.”
There are currently 8 stations located around Fort Smith with 10 bikes stationed at each. Current pricing starts at $0.50 per 30 minutes after the free allotted hour and the bikes are run and tracked through an app called Movatic. Plans for expansion are in the works, but the research teams will analyze data from the oncoming months to see how to best proceed.
“We are excited to give our residents the opportunity to experience the many benefits of cycling,” Fort Smith Mayor George McGill expressed at the launch event. “From picking up a few items from the convenience store to simply taking a ride and enjoying the outdoors, bike-sharing is a healthy way to travel.”
UAFS students are free to test out the program immediately at the station on the corner of Grand Avenue and N 31st Street.