NORTHAMPTON — As the busy summer season kicks off, those eagerly waiting for the return and possible expansion of ValleyBike Share will have to wait a while longer.

In a recent interview, Dipesh Dar, the co-founder and COO of Drop Mobility, the new vendor running the e-bike network, said it will reopen this summer only in the cities it served last year, though moving into new places, like Agawam and Westfield, is part of the long-term plan.

“Bikes will be returning to the following towns this season: Northampton, Amherst, University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, Chicopee, Easthampton, Hadley, Holyoke, Springfield, South Hadley and West Springfield,” said Dar. “We are working on expansion to neighboring jurisdictions. We will announce once confirmed.”

Dar would not confirm possible expansion sites, but before ValleyBike Share paused operations last spring, Agawam and Westfield had been mentioned as logical next steps after the network entered West Springfield in 2021.

The popular bike-sharing program stopped operations in 2023 when the bike vendor, Bewegen, filed for bankruptcy. Since then, stakeholders have been searching for a vendor to take over. In early May, the city of Northampton announced the new partnership with Drop Mobility.

“We have not yet announced a launch date and are actively working with all stakeholders involved for bikes to be returning this summer,” Dar said in May. “Carolyn Misch [director of planning and sustainability] and the city of Northampton, along with all participating stakeholders, have been fantastic to work with so far and we credit them entirely with holding the vision and having the tenacity to bring ValleyBike back to life. We can’t wait to get everyone riding.”

According to city of Northampton statistics, the ValleyBike Share program has 734 e-assist bicycles and dozens of stations with docking and charging capabilities in its eight-town service area. Riders use a smartphone app to reserve, unlock and pay for use of the e-bikes, which they can use for one-way or round-trip journeys, returning them to any ValleyBike Share docking station.

“This is a vibrant system, backed by community leaders who have a strong vision for a long-term and sustainable system.,” said Dar. “We are excited about the potential of e-bike share to positively impact the communities in Pioneer Valley and we are excited to relaunch ValleyBike for its next chapter.”

Dar explained that the program faces some challenges in Drop Mobility’s early planning stages but expects to have a successful program because of the company’s experience and community support.

“We are working with existing equipment from an earlier vendor which has been stored for quite some time, so there could be surprises,” said Dar. “So far, the community has been very welcoming and seems excited to see bike share return. All participating communities are active stakeholders of the system involved in planning and decision-making, and are fully supportive of the program.”

Misch agreed that although the project is getting a little bit later start than administrators had initially hoped, the city and all the stakeholders are pleased with the work of Drop Mobility and bringing ValleyBike Share back.

“The Drop group has been working at lightning speed on a monumental task of evaluating and creating an organized inventory not only of 734 bikes and their current condition, but also putting parts back into bikes, [and] organizing all the other items that were unlabeled and boxed together in haste as the previous operator shut down abruptly,” explained Misch. “Drop has absolutely met benchmarks laid out in the contract, and we know that the hard work up front is necessary so that when the launch happens, there are no glitches.”