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Bikeshare still on track for September launch in Montgomery Co.

Wednesday - 8/21/2013, 5:04am  ET

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Capital Bikeshare is on the verge of launching in Montgomery County, as transportation officials tell WTOP they are planning the kick-off event in September.

Sandra Brecher, chief of commuter services at the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, jokes the county is on the 5-yard line.

"I'm not sure that's a great bike analogy, it's a good Redskins analogy. But yes, we are very close to the finish line," she says.

Brecher has said that Capital Bikeshare would be available before the end of the summer. Although she would not update the timeline with a specific date, signs are pointing toward the first two weeks of September.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is in the initial planning phases for the event, which will include a number of local officials. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett tops the list.

"I cannot promise it will be in the first three weeks. The first week [of September] is probably out of play with Labor Day. They do need time to be able to put the finishing touches on the stations to be able to roll them out. It will be in September," she says.

But Leggett is scheduled to go on an official 10-day trip to China from Sept. 15 to 24. Because county transportation officials say Leggett will play a key role in the event, those dates are out.

Despite the uncertain start date, county residents can sign up for membership now. Earlier this spring, transportation officials urged residents to hold off on signing up because Alta Bikeshare, which runs Capital Bikeshare, would not share the membership revenue with the county.

At the time, Brecher told residents the county would inform them when to sign up, which would happen roughly 30 days before launch. That notice came on Aug. 8.

While it's possible the event could be held at the end of September, after Leggett returns from China, Brecher continues to hold firm to the "before the end of summer" timeline.

"All the station equipment, the bikes, are all being manufactured and being shipped. So everything is on target on our timeline," she says.

Not all 51 stations will be up and running the day of the official launch. Although most stations will be ready, there could be a small number that will need several more weeks before they open.

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