CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The City of Chattanooga and Alta Bicycle Share announced the Bike Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System opened to the public Monday evening.

Three-hundred bicycles populate a network of 28 stations throughout downtown Chattanooga and the city's north shore. The launch marks the first large scale bicycle transit system in the Southeast.

Now open to the public after months of testing and technical issues, users can visit the solar-powered kiosks or sign up online. Annual memberships are also available, at a reduced cost of $60 through September 3rd. Twenty-four hour memberships are available for $6 at each station kiosk. Early adopters, called Patron Members, were provided with their membership keys Tuesday morning.

"We really appreciate the public's support with this innovative project," says Chattanooga Bicycle Coordinator Philip Pugliese. "It will set a new standard for bicycle transit in the United States."

Several innovations have been implemented into the system to the meet the demands of the City of Chattanooga:
- Solar technology
- User-friendly LCD screen at each kiosk
- Hybrid credit card readers
- Wireless GPS interface
- Member card and smart card readers.

These new features are incorporated into every station and will provide new opportunities to integrate with public transit, customer service technologies and corporate sponsors.

The Chattanooga bicycles will also be equipped with a secondary locking system that will allow the user to secure the bike for short stops without having to return to a station.