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Article on Bike Share programs.

Old 01-17-21, 09:23 AM
  #1  
Moe Zhoost
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Article on Bike Share programs.

Why some bike shares work and others don't.

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Old 01-17-21, 03:23 PM
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Good article. They're right about geography being a major factor for if a bike share will be successful in a particular city. When I lived in Seattle, it completely flopped. Too hilly for those bikes. Even a maniac would struggle with one of those if any distance was involved, unless the ride were restricted to the bike trail, which is where most were used. Throw in a mandatory helmet law and rain for half the year, and it should have been no surprise that nobody used them.
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Old 01-19-21, 09:54 AM
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The 3 bike share companies in my community switched to e-scooters. I did see many folks using the bikes but I saw even more trashed bikes littering trails and empty lots.
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Old 01-19-21, 02:50 PM
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Bike shares in my locale have been successful. Last year they switched to e-bikes. From what I've seen, there are no trashed or abandoned bikes to speak of.

The pictures you see from China are because dockless e-bikes were an investment bubble, probably exacerbated by lack of adequate regulations on financial disclosure. The same bubble hit the US with dockless scooters, but didn't manage to progress as far.

Imagine how disorganized those bikes would be without kick stands.
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Old 01-21-21, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
The 3 bike share companies in my community switched to e-scooters. I did see many folks using the bikes but I saw even more trashed bikes littering trails and empty lots.
The same thing happened here. From what I see the scooters don't get a lot of use either. Doesn't seem like the usage rate will be sufficient to sustain a profitable operation.
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Old 04-20-21, 11:49 PM
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Great article. Thanks
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Old 04-21-21, 06:21 AM
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I think Aristotle got it right a couple thousand years ago: people take better care of private property than they do of communal property. Rather than bike shares, we probably need some kind of unified federal program to encourage (subsidize) bike ownership. But I donít see that happening anytime soon.
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Old 04-21-21, 07:22 AM
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They tried the dockless bike system in Nashua starting in 2018, then added scooters in 2019. VeoRide has quietly dropped the contract with the city, and I think the issue was the high cost of maintenance and hunting down the vehicles. Only good thing about it is it didn't cost the city anything.

The one time I considered using a bike, I was returning home from dropping off my own bike at the shop for repair and figured I'd use the bike share for the 2.5 mile ride. I decided to walk when I found out I had to prepay for $10 worth of rides in order to use it for the supposedly free trial ride. Rides normally were fifty cents, so I never would have used that up..
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Old 04-21-21, 07:49 PM
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I would put trailers behind buses to make it easy for people to bring their bikes with them.
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Old 04-22-21, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by homeless in ca. View Post
I would put trailers behind buses to make it easy for people to bring their bikes with them.

The fold up racks on the front are very easy to use
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Old 04-22-21, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
The fold up racks on the front are very easy to use
In Montreal only 9 out of 200+ bus routes are equipped with bike racks. And each bus has space for two bikes.

On the metro (subway) there is a limit of 5 bikes in the front car only. And only between 10 and 3 o'clock. Also if the train is too crowded which is often then you are sol.
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Old 04-22-21, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by homeless in ca. View Post
In Montreal only 9 out of 200+ bus routes are equipped with bike racks. And each bus has space for two bikes.

On the metro (subway) there is a limit of 5 bikes in the front car only. And only between 10 and 3 o'clock. Also if the train is too crowded which is often then you are sol.

I've actually never seen a situation where a bus needed more than 2 bike spaces. I'm sure it must happen, but I've never even heard of it.

That's bad that they've kept the intermodal bike infrastructure that bad in Montreal. I used to do that form of transit when I lived in the SF Bay Area, and it was actually a pretty great way to go from the BART to the CalTrain.
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Old 04-22-21, 10:04 PM
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Since fewer than 5% of the bus routes allow bicycles the number of bike spaces might as well be zero.
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Old 04-23-21, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by homeless in ca. View Post
Since fewer than 5% of the bus routes allow bicycles the number of bike spaces might as well be zero.
Agreed. That's pretty much the definition of a token effort. They can truthfully lie by saying "we allow bikes on buses." Just don't mention that it's only a few of them.
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Old 04-23-21, 05:19 AM
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The term "Bike Share" is a misnomer. When I share something I normally don't ask for money in return, and bike share is really just bike rental. The name should be "Government Subsidized Bike Rental" because these programs rely on the government allowing the use of publicly owned real estate (in the way of places to dock bicycles on public lands and streets) in exchange for hosting the program. Most of these programs are not and cannot be supported purely on the basis of the income received from users. That is, the expenses from operating such programs are in excess of the income received. In some places bike share programs are used more for tourist related sightseeing (say Miami Beach) than others where the bikes are used more for commuting (say New York or Montreal). While subsidizing transportation for commuting seems reasonable I am not so sure subsidizing tourist related sightseeing is desirable. In some places large bike share programs are taking business away from small independent bicycle shops that formerly rented bicycles to the public.
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Old 04-23-21, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
The term "Bike Share" is a misnomer. When I share something I normally don't ask for money in return, and bike share is really just bike rental. The name should be "Government Subsidized Bike Rental" because these programs rely on the government allowing the use of publicly owned real estate (in the way of places to dock bicycles on public lands and streets) in exchange for hosting the program. Most of these programs are not and cannot be supported purely on the basis of the income received from users. That is, the expenses from operating such programs are in excess of the income received. In some places bike share programs are used more for tourist related sightseeing (say Miami Beach) than others where the bikes are used more for commuting (say New York or Montreal). While subsidizing transportation for commuting seems reasonable I am not so sure subsidizing tourist related sightseeing is desirable. In some places large bike share programs are taking business away from small independent bicycle shops that formerly rented bicycles to the public.

I'm skeptical of this claim. I wouldn't use a bike share bike if I was planning on tooling around all day and might rent a higher quality ride for the day. I suspect the vast majority of bike share tourists are only renting for short hops and probably wouldn't have rented at all if it wasn't so convenient to hop on and hop off. Those tourists are almost certainly going into local businesses between hops, so this subsidy of tourist biking might actually be encouraging "foot traffic" hop-offs when people don't have to worry about securing the rental bike. Long story short--I don't think there are that many jobs at small bike shops that are likely to be affected, and there may be more jobs created by increasing mobility of tourists to hop from store to store. Not to mention that the bike share program itself creates jobs.
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Old 04-23-21, 11:24 AM
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We have a small "bike share" system here in Fargo ND. It is supposedly a huge success. The overwhelming majority of users (90% of the rides) are North Dakota State University students, who pay for it with student fees. Short version: students pay for the system regardless of weather or not they use it and it is rolled into their student loans so they don't have to pay for it now. Take away the revenue from NDSU and the system will collapse.

Tourists? They park downtown and walk, or they park at NDSU and walk, or they park near the wood chipper, which is about 4 miles from the nearest bike share docks, and walk.

I once tried to rent a bike for a couple days when I was traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area. It was more than renting a car, so the bosses said not on their nickel. I rode the BART, walked, or got a ride from the hotel shuttle.
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Old 04-23-21, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DangerousDanR View Post
We have a small "bike share" system here in Fargo ND. It is supposedly a huge success. The overwhelming majority of users (90% of the rides) are North Dakota State University students, who pay for it with student fees. Short version: students pay for the system regardless of weather or not they use it and it is rolled into their student loans so they don't have to pay for it now. Take away the revenue from NDSU and the system will collapse.

Tourists? They park downtown and walk, or they park at NDSU and walk, or they park near the wood chipper, which is about 4 miles from the nearest bike share docks, and walk.

I once tried to rent a bike for a couple days when I was traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area. It was more than renting a car, so the bosses said not on their nickel. I rode the BART, walked, or got a ride from the hotel shuttle.
Wait, is it proper to pluralize "tourist" when you're talking about Fargo?

Sorry, grew up in Minneapolis and couldn't resist.
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Old 04-25-21, 12:46 AM
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An informative and good article!

Thank you for sharing!
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Old 04-25-21, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
The term "Bike Share" is a misnomer....
The same can be said about Uber and "ride share". There's nothing about sharing a ride when you hire Uber. Cities are too timid to challenge Uber on this claim.

But I digress.

Back to topic.
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Old 04-25-21, 05:54 PM
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The article does not address if docking stations have any effect on its care and success.

If a user has to return the bike to a docking station to stop the clock, these bikes won't be treated like trash. Also, bike share and bike lanes go together. If you can't provide bicycle infrastructure, you can't expand its usage. I can't honestly believe someone would pick up a bike that someone else had trashed somewhere in the boonies and ride it back to civilization without any protected bike lane anywhere. If docking stations were at bike lanes, even at hill tops, they will still be used. When you go down a hill, eventually you'll need to go back up.

Last edited by Daniel4; 04-25-21 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 04-25-21, 06:16 PM
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Here in the Washington, DC area, the docked bikes (Capital Bikeshare, or CABI) has been a resounding success ands is now an integral part of the r=transportation system, but the dockless ones, like Jump and Ofo have failed. I think the focus on "last mile" transportation and the fact that daily use of a car during rush hour is so difficult are major factors.
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Old 04-26-21, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH View Post
Here in the Washington, DC area, the docked bikes (Capital Bikeshare, or CABI) has been a resounding success ands is now an integral part of the r=transportation system, but the dockless ones, like Jump and Ofo have failed. I think the focus on "last mile" transportation and the fact that daily use of a car during rush hour is so difficult are major factors.

I docked a bike share pretty much right next to National Airport (I had to walk a few blocks). Not a lot of other places in the US where you can do that.
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