Ft Lauderdale Florida Negotiating Massive Bike Library Bike Sharing Deal with B-Cycle
Broward considering mass bicycle 'library' system
Members could pick up, drop off bikes at locked racks
May 15, 2010|By Brittany Wallman, Sun SentinelBroward County hopes to become one of the first communities in America to roll out a massive bike-sharing system, setting up bikes along the beaches and downtowns for easy rental by residents and tourists.
The bike "libraries" have been popular for years in Europe — in Paris, particularly — but only now are catching on in the United States.
A major bike-sharing program will launch in July in Miami Beach. Denver introduced its system in April. Washington, D.C., has a relatively new bike-sharing program. Systems launch this year in Boston and Minneapolis.
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"Bike sharing is definitely in its infancy in the United States," said Bob Burns, president of B-cycle, the company selected to launch a system here. "Really, Broward County is very progressive. They're on the vanguard."
Broward County commissioners will vote this summer on a contract with B-cycle, if negotiations are successful. About 200 bikes would be in place six months later, Burns said. The system would grow to about 500 bikes over five years, according to B-cycle's proposal.
B-cycle would pay for the bikes and system, recouping its investment by selling ads on the bikes, bike baskets and kiosks. Burns said he believes that the system could be sustainable in a place like Broward, with so many tourists.
Here's how it works:
Tourists and residents alike can use the bicycles. They're locked at bike racks placed along the beach or the downtowns of Broward's beachfront cities, probably starting with Fort Lauderdale and expanding to Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Hillsboro Beach and Deerfield Beach. A bike rider can sign up for a membership in advance, proposed at $45 a year. It would also be available for the week ($25), the day $5) or the hour (50 cents for the first half hour, then $3 for each half hour after).
Without a membership, a customer can swipe a debit card and borrow a bike for any amount of time.
When the rider is done, the bike is dropped off and locked at another rack.
Here's how the company describes its system: "B-cycle is a next-gen bike-sharing system. In layman's terms: B-cycles are magic bikes that are there when you want one and gone when you don't. Just swipe your card, grab a bike, and get to where you're going."
The bikes have chips embedded in them in case they're lost or stolen. And riders can look up online their mileage, the number of calories they burned and how much gasoline they saved by taking a bike.
B-Cycle Business Concept: