Dockless Bike Sharing Program Finds Success Here

Dockless Bike Sharing Program Finds Success Here

ofo, the world’s first and largest station-free bike-sharing company, has been popular among Chelsea residents and has big plans to expand its presences in the area, according to company representatives.

ofo operated pilot programs in four Boston area cities, including Chelsea, from September to December 2017, and looks forward to building on those programs and further expanding in the coming months.

In Chelsea, as across the Greater Boston area, ofo has hired a local team, including experienced fleet managers and mechanics who together have more than 30 years of experience in the local bike industry.

“I was thoroughly impressed with the ofo pilot program as company officials were very responsive from start to finish,” said Councilor at-Large Roy Avellaneda. “As an advocate for eco-friendly and improved public transportation for Chelsea, I was thrilled to be able to have the city offer a bike sharing program to Chelsea residents. The amount of positive feedback from users and the usage data provided by ofo at the end proved two things: 1. That a bike sharing program is needed in Chelsea; 2. There is much room for growth and use in our community.”

The company has worked closely with local city officials to ensure smooth operations leading up to and through launch, and will continue its collaboration to help improve urban travel and ensure all corners of the city have access to this new affordable and convenient way to get around. ofo has also sponsored local events, such as Chelsea’s bike-marathon.

“Collaborating with local officials to bring this affordable, convenient and green transportation option to Chelsea has been a great experience,” said Head of ofo U.S., Chris Taylor. “Thank you to the residents who’ve welcomed us into the community. We look forward to continuing this partnership, growing our business and offering more bikes to folks throughout the Boston area this year.”

ofo currently operates in more than 20 cities across the U.S. and more than 250 cities worldwide. Since ofo’s launch in the greater Boston area in September, users have taken more than 35,000 trips and traveled nearly 70,000 miles.

ofo’s founders pioneered the concept of station-free bike sharing, which eliminated the inconvenience of docking stations and their expense to city taxpayers. The bikes can be parked anywhere and cost only $1 per hour.

To get started, Chelsea residents can download the ofo app available for iOS and Android. The app helps users find a nearby bike via GPS and unlock it by scanning a QR code. Once a ride is complete, locking the bike ends the trip automatically and the user will receive a digital receipt and map of their route.

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MGC Adopts Flexible Licensing Award Process

MGC Adopts Flexible Licensing Award  Process

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is getting set to begin the evaluations of both Region A casino applications next Monday in a complex, but deliberate, process that is likely to last one week or, perhaps, more.

Like the previous slot license award, there will be no simple up and down vote about who to award the one license to – either Mohegan Sun in Revere or Wynn Resorts in Everett.

On Aug. 21, the MGC reviewed an outline of the process, which will include a ratings process of five specific areas and discussion of conditions on the license.

The target date for awarding the license is Sept. 12, but it could take longer according to MGC Executive Director Rick Day.

“I think at least from the approach here it seems very clear that we have got that week targeted,” said Day at the meeting. “But in the end, the process is designed to allow the timing Commission needs part of the information and to get appropriate responses from the applicants of the complex reports and conditions that are there. I think the concentration is the best result for the Commonwealth as opposed to a particular day…It’s also the recognition that you just mentioned that the complexity of both projects and the nature of both of those projects is that it may very well take time to get a clear understanding of what those conditions and what each of the evaluation parts say. So, I think it’s the concept is to make sure that the process is flexible and be able to take different steps along the way if you need it.

Commissioner Jim McHugh agreed that the target date should remain, but there should be flexibility to go longer.

“That’s really an important point,” McHugh said. “We’ve said and maintain that we’re starting on the 8th. We are starting on the 8th, and we said we are finishing on the 12th. We are going to make the award on the 12th. We will try to do that. But if we don’t do that because we are trying to make sure that we get the best result for the Commonwealth, we will continue with perhaps pauses to have these back and forths with the applicants straightforward until we do finish them. If that takes a few extra days, so be it. But the object is to ensure that we have a fair transparent process that results in the best – in the best bagging for the Commonwealth, and this is designed to assist us in doing that.”

The Commission will begin by making reports on four different areas of study.

First will be a return to the suitability discussions of all applicants – whether or not there have been any changes in status to applicants.

Then, after all the suitability discussions have been had, the Commission will move on to analyzing and rating each of the two proposals on the subjects of Building/Site Design and Finance.

The second set of discussions will be on the subjects of Mitigation and Economic Development.

The final discussion will be an overview of all four categories.

That will launch into what is expected to be a prolonged and potentially complicated process of adding conditions and correcting any errors made in the presentations.

The Commission will submit a series of questions and comments to each applicant and then put the meeting in recess.

That will allow the applicants to answer the questions and discuss the conditions.

That back and forth will continue until all have been satisfied.

No ratings will be discussed until the overview process.

Again, rather than an up or down vote on the two projects, there will be ratings for each project, with the license going to the project that has scored the best. With that in mind, a project may get favorable ratings, but if the ratings are eclipsed by the other project, the other project would be awarded the license.

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He Had a Dream: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

He Had a Dream: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King

Despite the countless number of times that we have heard Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches on TV news shows and specials over the past 50 years (okay, we’re revealing how old we are), we never fail to feel a chill run through us when we listen to his words in that distinctive voice and oratorical style that transfixed our nation ever since he first burst onto the scene as a leader of the civil rights movement.

The 1960s were a time of transformation in America that truly are unimaginable to today’s young people, who take for granted that discrimination based upon race, color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation does not exist to anywhere near the extent that it did two generations ago.

And yet, if Dr. King were alive today, wouldn’t he be  reminding us that the work to which he devoted his life is far from over? In light of the economic inequality that exists in America in 2014, and that is growing deeper with every passing day, isn’t it obvious that he would be  galvanizing support  and marching in the streets to promote the concept of  dignity for every person on the planet?

Dr. Martin Luther King was only a man, which is to say, like all of us, he was not perfect. But he was a great man, whose legacy continues to remind  us that fighting for justice for all must be a never-ending quest in a world where the forces of prejudice, greed, and ignorance continue to exert their power in so many ways.

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