Monday, September 26, 2011

The Bike-sharing World: Last Week of September 2011

Bike-sharing cleans up in the United Kingdom. This morning is the official launch of Bike in Bath. This 58-bike, 4-station system has been in trials in Bath, England for two weeks. Though small, it is of big interest because the system is equipped and operated by Bicincittà. This will be the first Bicincittà system in the UK and complements the 70 bike-sharing programs it operates in Italy. The system is funded by the European Union-backed Civitas Renaissance initiative, which helps cities across Europe achieve more sustainable, clean, and energy-efficient urban transport systems.

Mid-September brought a new bike-sharing program to France's 4th largest city, Lille. V'Lille merges both a self-service component and longer terms bike rentals into the same system. There are 1,100 bikes in 110 self-service stations. The system will expand in April  of next year to serve not only Lille, but the contiguous cities of Roubaix, Tourcoing, and Villeneuve-d'Ascq. 

Only around 50% of the stations have kiosks which take credit cards to sign up for the one-day or seven-day subscription on the spot. All subscription periods are available online. The costs are reasonable: a day pass is €1.40 ($1.85 US), a week is €7 ($9.40 US), and the year is €36 ($48.50 US). Go over the first free 30 minutes and it costs €1 ($1.35 US) for each additional 1/2 hour. 

Don't want a self-service bike, but one to keep and use like a personal bike without buying one? V'Lille has 3,000 bikes to rent for one month at €5 ($6.70 US), 9 months at €27 ($36.40 US), and one year at €36. The bikes can be rented with accessories like a child seat. The long-term rental bikes cannot be docked at the stations.  

North America:

Within days of the announcement of the NYC Bikeshare program, Chicago, Illinois issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a 3,000-bike system to be operational by June 2012. This RFP has a very aggressive time table to put Chicago's system on the ground close to the time of New York City's. Chicago wants to increase the size of its system to have 5,000 bikes in 500 stations within 24 months of operation. It will be entertaining to watch this bicycle race between these two cities.

November should bring two new bike-sharing programs to the United States. Broward B-cycle serving Broward County, Florida, which includes Fort Lauderdale, is readying around 200 bikes to give south Florida its second bike-sharing system. Chattanooga, Tennessee is also readying  Bike Chattanooga to launch with 300 bikes throughout 30 stations. We hope that more southern cities in the United States will not be very far behind.

images: v'lille, BBC,

Russell Meddin

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Copenhagen & Frederiksberg Public Tender Upcoming

The Cities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg, as well as public transport operators Metroselskabet and DSB, have entered a collaboration on the development and establishment of a bike-sharing system. At a later stage, the system could be offered to other organizations, such as other cities, public entities, private enterprises, and the like.

The task of establishing, operating, and maintaining the bike-sharing-system will be EU-tendered in December 2011. In the beginning of October 2011 a tender notice will be published and the prequalification will start. In connection with the prequalification, an informational meeting for potential bidders will be held on October 4th to inform about the practical matters regarding the tender. The meeting will take place at DSB, Sølvgade 40B, from 4-6pm local time. Registration for the information meeting can be made no later than October 3rd at noon by sending an email to Kim Guldbrandsen at

Their vision is to give citizens, customers of public transport, tourists, and visitors in the city the possibility of using a door-to-door public transport system, and not only between train or bus stations. This will be secured by connecting the existing public transportation system, which focuses on transportation of many people over long distances with high comfort and short travel times, with the high flexibility of a bike. This generates increased accessibility to business parks, residential, shopping, and other areas of interest, which today are rarely serviced by public transport or where the existing network does not offer an attractive service.

image credit: Denmark Travel Guide

Friday, September 16, 2011

Capital Bikeshare Turning 1

Capital Bikeshare is turning 1 year old on September 20th. We made it and it's been a blast! As we approach our 1st birthday, we're also approaching our 1,000,000th trip. Today with about 985,000 trips we are closing in on this milestone quickly. Will we make it to the big number before our 1st birthday? I'm guessing yes. When my company, MetroBike, was involved in creating Capital Bikeshare, we didn't know how well it would be embraced by the public. And now one year later, it's far exceeded our expectations.

If you know of any Japanese reality TV shows wanting to film the 1,000,000th trip, let me know. As we reported on The Bike-sharing Blog in June, Velib' had fun with this for trip #100,000,000, so why wait for Capital Bikeshare?

Come help us celebrate our first birthday. If you're in town on September 22, World Car-free Day, join us as we celebrate the huge success of Capital Bikeshare. No one thought CaBi, as it's called locally, would be such a game-changer for the Washington, DC region. Not only are more stations and bikes coming on-line over the following months in DC and Arlington, but more jurisdictions in the region are interested in being part of the service. This would make Capital Bikeshare one of the largest regional bike-sharing services in the world. Now with so many more bike trips in the nation's capital, you'll have a difficult time even finding a car on Pennsylvania Avenue. OK, a slight stretch of my imagination, but you get the picture.

We'll see you on the 22nd. And make that extra trip on a CaBi to get us that much closer.

And from MetroBike, thanks a million!

UPDATE (9/20/11): We reached 1,000,000 trips today on our birthday. Here's the press release.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New York City Announces Bike-sharing System For April 2012

This afternoon the New York City Department of Transportation announced that it will begin its bike-sharing on April 1, 2012 with a 10,000-bike, 600-station program operated by Alta Bicycle Share. The service, dubbed NYC Bike Share is expected to cover a part of New York's borough of Manhattan, south of 79th Street, and parts of the borough of Brooklyn. The program will use the Public Bicycle System Company equipment which is also in use in Washington, DC/Arlington, Boston, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal, Melbourne, and London. A 2-month test period with 30 stations is scheduled to begin before the April launch of the system. New Yorkers and visitors can take part in helping "to shape the system" using a special station placement locator map.

Bike-sharing and Beer: A Good Mix?

Recently, JCDecaux began selling advertising space on the bikes of its SEVici bike-sharing system in Seville, Spain. It cleverly created a new front basket on the bikes that looks like the carrying case for Cruzcampo Cervesa,  a beer brewed by Heinekin. A local consumer association believes that these new front baskets violate the region's laws concerning the advertising of alcohol in a sports related activity involving minors. The local group is demanding the advertising be removed, as reported in laopiniondemalaga.

Are these utilitarian vehicles used for sports? According to El Correo de Andalucia, "This service as transport already has 60,000 users per day which means that 6.6% of all journeys are made in the city are by bike." Are there minors using them? According to SEVici, 14 to 18 years-olds are allowed to use the system, but only with written permission from parents or guardians.

Advertising has always been intertwined with 3rd generation bike-sharing. The first systems were paid almost solely by advertising revenue, either off-site or on the bikes. Then different business models distanced the bikes from advertising. Now there is a strong movement for "peddle while one pedals" in bike-sharing. As these systems grow, it is becoming evident that income from advertising is a necessity to pay for the increasing cost to maintain the systems.

The Bike-sharing Blog and the bike-sharing world will be watching how this controversy unfolds. Since we all know that bike-sharing systems are created to serve the public, or in this case should we say "cervesa" the public, whether they are with or without advertising.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Baltimore a Charming City for Bike-sharing

Possible Baltimore B-cycle Bikes

Baltimore, Maryland is in advanced stages of negotiations with B-cycle to be the one of the next mid-Atlantic cities in the United States to bring bike-sharing to its citizens. With 250 bikes in 30 stations under discussion, the plan is to deploy the system around July 2012 in the Central Business District (CBD) and in the area just to the southeast of it. Because Baltimore is such a gracious city, with a dash of southern hospitality, the bike system will be called Charm City Bikeshare. It will complement the Charm City Circulator a free bus transit system which makes connections in the CBD. Baltimore, around 65 km (40 miles) north of Washington, DC, is close to initiating bike-sharing as well as New York City, NY is soon to announce a system to begin in spring 2012. With the New Balance Hubway spinning smoothly through Boston, MA, bike-sharing is developing in most of the major US cities in northeast corridor. Unfortunately, there will remain a gaping void in the center of this string of bike-sharing cities because one major city does not yet understand the importance of bike-sharing's role in public transportation.

Which US city has the largest bike-sharing program today? On paper it is Capital Bikeshare of Washington, DC and Arlington, VA with 1,100 bikes in 114 stations, but Nice Ride Minnesota has been expanding this summer and surpasses Capital Bikeshare with the actual number of bikes available on the streets during some days. It's like watching a pennant race between two cities. That is a baseball sports contest for our non US readers. Like baseball, that race will end in the late fall when Nice Ride goes into hibernation for the winter!

Update:  November 9, 2011, ABC News, The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved an exclusive agreement with B-cycle to bring bike-sharing to Baltimore

original images: B-cycle PBSCo