Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Case for Bike-Share

 via NYC Gov.

Bike-share programs are networks of public use bicycles distributed around a city for use at low cost. Bicycles can be picked up at any self-serve bike-station and returned to any other bikestation, which makes bike-shares ideal for Point A to Point B transportation. A New Yorker living on Avenue D in Manhatan could, for example, ride a bike-share bicycle to Union Square, leave the bicycle there and hop on the subway without worrying about bicycle theft. A New Yorker returning home to Elmhurst, Queens, could bicycle the last mile instead of waiting for the bus or transferring trains. Designed specifically to augment public transportation offerings, bike-share programs are defined by their low cost, the high concentration of their bike-stations over the program area, and their easy, 24 hour operations. Data from existing programs indicates that bike-share programs are popular. Velib’, the Paris bike-share program, has an average of 75,000 rentals per day.1
Bike-shares differ from other forms of transportation infrastructure in the speed at which programs can be implemented. In Paris, Velib’s initial 700 bike-stations and 10,000 bicycles were installed in less than 6 months; the program doubled in size six months later. In Montreal, Bixi’s solar powered bike-station design, which is installed in pre-fabricated modular units, will reduce implementation times even further. Administrators estimate that Bixi installation time could be as short as 20 minutes per bike-station because excavation is not required.2 To use a bike-share bicycle, people sign up for daily, weekly or annual memberships. The memberships can be purchased online or at any bike-station. With their membership card in hand, users swipe their card or enter their password, select a bicycle from a bike-station, and go. Returning a bicycle is even easier. Users find a bike-station near their destination, roll the bicycle into an open docking station and are done. Most programs offer the first ½ hour free and provide a 15 minute grace period if there are no free docking stations at the users’ destination. Bicycles not returned within 24 hours are considered stolen, and a set fee is automatically charged to the users’ credit card.
The history and evolution of the bike-share concept is instructive. The first bike-share opened in Amsterdam in 1968 but was quickly overrun by theft. Many of Amsterdam’s “White Bikes” were stolen and many others found wrecked or stripped for parts in the city’s canals. The program closed shortly after its introduction.

Bixi bike sharing in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, photo by andy54321

more about bike sharing:

Tehran's "Bike House" Shines Green

sustainable transport

World’s largest bike-share system in China dwarfs popular U.S. program

City of Boston Announces Its BIXI Bike Share Program Is a Go

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