If it is sponsored by your city, it is likely a non profit business. And it can also be sponsored by local businesses to support the green effort by advertising on the bike check in/out stands to help keep the cost of renting down. If your city doesn't have a program in place yet, attend your local city council meetings and suggest it to your mayor and elected council members. With gas prices climbing this could be a great way to travel across town at a low cost and you can get in shape as well. With my 30 day challenges, I have found I can ride a bicycle approximately 3 miles in 20 minutes. It's a great workout. It can also save you wear and tear on you own bicycle and you won't have to worry about buying sophisticated locks to protect your bike from being stolen.
Pictures courtesy of Pinterest.