Monday, June 30, 2008
Portland Comes Up Empty-handed
As reported on BikePortland, Portland, Oregon has ended its search for a bike-sharing vendor and has chosen option D - none of the above. Portland originally began its search for a vendor to provide bike-sharing services in February 2007 and had three serious bids from Clear Channel Outdoor, The Portland Bike Company, and Library Bikes. Reasons as to why none of the potential vendors were selected to operate this service has not been disclosed at this time.
Potential reasons as to why there was no selection could include: 1) an economical bike-sharing technology was not offered without an outdoor advertising contract, 2) the user cost to the public was too high, 3) sufficient insurance or indemnity to the city was not offered, and 4) a required experience level was not available.
Hopefully Portland will not give up on bike-sharing. As the nascent field of bike-sharing grows in North America, more vendors and experience will make themselves available in the future to help Portland finish what it embarked upon. Portland is certainly one of the best cities in the U.S. for bike-sharing with the highest bike mode share of medium-sized American cities.
UPDATE: BikePortland states:
"Far from giving up on the idea, [Portland] Commissioner Sam Adams’ office says just they’re taking a new approach.
"Adams’ transportation policy staffer Shoshanah Oppenheim told me that once they began to 'delve into the meat of the responses' to their Request for Proposals (RFP, which was sent out on July 17, 2007), 'it was clear we needed to do more analysis.'
"Oppenheim says the legal restraints of the RFP process tied the hands of the committee formed to choose a vendor. 'Under the contraints of the RFP,' she said, 'we can’t talk to potential providers and continue to learn from them… it was hindering our ability to do the analysis we wanted to do to make sure the program was the right style and scope that would work for Portland.' "