Monday, October 15, 2007

Portland Considering Bike-sharing Bids

According to The Portland Tribune, Portland, Oregon closed its bidding period this past Friday for a bike-sharing service and will be reviewing bids over the next few months. The fleet size they're looking for is 500 bikes and the city is open to the idea of either an advertising or non-advertising-based service. Where advertising is accepted, corporations like Clear Channel Adshel and JCDecaux have huge advantages as the millions of dollars they make on advertising revenues from bus shelters, billboards, and kiosks pay for bike-sharing. However, the smaller local companies have the advantage of being more responsive and knowing the local environment better.

photo credit: Clemens Bilan/Getty Images


Bill said...

I think Portland should consider the downside of accepting advertising as the mechanism to pay for bike programs. Clear Channel has rushed into many large cities promising bicycle programs while winning advertising rights at transit facilities. It is like someone saying "Sure I'll give you a $10 million bike program, just give me $100 million of advertising rights."

Another way to visualize the advertising impact is to imagine the companies that want to put Coka Cola or Pepsi vending machine at public schools. The impact to the pupils of the advertising is huge. This is the impact the public yields to advertisers who promise a 'free bicycle program'.

Anonymous said...

I'd say if advertising can support a bike sharing program, then go for it. Clearly, public sentiment won't support it through taxes and user fees can't cover the costs of a efficient and practical service.

By offering physical facilities for shared bikes, the city is supporting the program, why not let advertisers also give support? Since people need to buy things for their lifestyles, adveertising is one way they can be informed about choices. Its still up to folks to decide what to buy, and adverts are regulated, to some degree, as to their honesty.