Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Arlington, Virginia Releases Bike-sharing Tender


Arlington County, Virginia has released a Request for Proposals for the operation of the Arlington Bike-sharing Program (RFP #56-09). The tender proposes a unique relationship between a local government and bike-sharing operator. The vendor will be responsible for operating the service, which includes administration, maintaining and distributing bikes, and collecting data. Arlington’s responsibilities will be for marketing the service, finding advertisements for the bikes, and providing some customer care. A pre-bid conference for interested vendors will be held on March 5 and the RFP will close on April 2.

The tender has the vendor purchasing “an off-the-shelf system, if not having a system of its own devise, and operating it for the public’s benefit.” Even just one year ago there weren’t many options for off-the-shelf systems, but now a handful are on the market, including Public Bike System, nextbike, Intrago, Smoove, and B-cycle. Arlington will keep revenues generated from the service, which include the membership and usage fees as well as advertisement revenues. The tender also offers incentives for meeting strict performance standards and fines for not doing so.

Arlington County does not allow on-street advertising with bus shelters, kiosks, billboards, and the like, so it is unable to have a bike-sharing service offered as part of an advertising contract as many cities have done. It is hoping to compensate for this by having advertisements on the bikes, as this form of advertising is legal in the public domain in Arlington, to assist with the financial sustainability of the program.

MetroBike, LLC assisted Arlington County develop its tender.

image credit: BikeArlington

1 comment:

Jim said...

Im a flight attendant and have wanted to use the public bike systems I have seen in Brussels, Paris, Washington but couldnt figure out how to make any of them work. I was shocked this summer when I went to Montreal and every three blocks was a bike station complete with a clear detailed map of all stations and bike routes through out the city to make it easy to find where you want to go. It was very easy to use and very affordable. $5 for 24 hours and you just have to lock it in a station every 30 minutes. the only thing that was confusing is it give you a combination that unlocks bike.. I thought it would stay the same for 24 hours but you have to put your credit card in the machine again to get the new combination. I got that info by calling their 800# clearly marked on machine. I never had a problem finding a place to park it or having an empty station. I say a trailer driving about 50 of the bikes that i assumed is how they keep stations open. I is the most amazing system I have ever seen and I wish I lived in Montreal!