Friday, January 18, 2008

Not a Guaranteed Hit

An article titled "Free Bikes Flop in Brussels" which appears on TreeHugger shares the problem Brussels is experiencing in getting folks to use their bike-sharing program, Cyclocity, run by JCDecaux. The author sites many reasons for this flop:

1) lack of commitment from both the government of Brussels as well as JCDecaux,
2) program size is too small with only 250 bikes and 20 stations (0.00025 bikes/person versus Paris's 0.01 bikes/person),
3) these bikes are heavier than those used in Paris and Brussels is hillier, and
4) charge for first 20 minutes of the ride.

I imagine the lack of a sufficient bike infrastructure is another cause of the Brussels flop. The governments of Paris and Lyon, for example, have made concerted efforts at improving their cycling infrastructure.

This is proof that adding a bike-sharing program alone cannot be a panacea for a locality's transportation woes. It takes more than throwing some bikes onto the streets. While Brussels's program isn't presently doing well, I would hope both the local government and JCDecaux are taking note of these obstacles so that improvements are made to get Brussels Cyclocity back on track.

image credit: TreeHugger

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