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updated: 9/22/2011 7:40 AM

Chicago to launch bike-sharing program in 2012

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Associated Press

The city of Chicago has announced plans to launch a bicycle-sharing program next year, with the goal of eventually providing 3,000 bikes for short-term use.

City officials announced Wednesday the bicycles will be available for members to use for free during the first 30 minutes. Fees will be charged for additional time and for visitors to Chicago. Daily, weekly and annual memberships will be offered.

The Chicago Tribune reports Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein (, who started a similar program in Washington, D.C., says the program is aimed at increasing mobility and reducing reliance on automobiles.

Officials say federal funds will be used to launch Chicago's bike-sharing program, with additional funds coming through member and user fees, advertising and sponsorships.