Friday, May 11, 2012

The Bike-sharing World - Second Week of May 2012


May 2, 2012 brings back Bysykkel to the streets of Drammen, Norway after a long multi-year hiatus. This time 140 bikes and 15 stations are available for use in the city with the purchase of a kroner 90 ($15 US) subscription online.  Drammen Bysykkel was one of the first automated bike-sharing systems when launched in April 2001. Installed by Clear Channel just three years after its Vélo à la Carte in France, the system originally had 250 bikes and 28 stations. After the 2009 season, Bysykkel was suspended during negotiations between the City and Clear Channel. With everything settled, bike-sharing has returned to Drammen.

This month brought the consolidation of bike systems in Switzerland with the purchase of Velopass by PostBus. Starting in 2009, Velopass began offering automated bike-sharing in Switzerland. Today it has 80 stations with 800 bicycles in 20 cities with 11,000 subscribers.

PostBus started service in August 2011 with PubliBike at rail stations to give passengers transport options. There are currently six locations with more planned for this year. The company's goal is to establish a system that integrates many cities so users may easily borrow bicycles with an electronic card valid across a national network. 

Huangyan Public Bicycle Development Company in Huangyan District of Taizhou is debuting the design for its new integrated Bus-Bike station to be used in the expansion of this 5-month old program from 1,000 to 2,500 bicycles. The concept is to make seamless connections between the bike-sharing service and the bus service. Huangyan is not the only city integrating bus and bike stations. Yinchuan City which is in the process of planning a 4,000-bicycle bike-share system for early summer 2013, calls for constructing 200 integrated bus and bike stations. City governments throughout China with either older or newer bike-sharing systems are looking for totally integrated transportation systems with regular bus, bus rapid transit, and subways.

                 Houston, Texas

On schedule, Houston became the second city in Texas to institute bike-sharing. On May 2nd, Houston B-cycle began with 18 bikes in 3 stations with the promise of 200 more bikes by year's end for this auto-centric city. For just $50, a yearly subscription gives 45 minutes at no charge for each trip. A daily pass is offered at $5 and a weekly at $15. Each additional half hour will cost a user $2.
                  Chicago, Illinois
Just as the City of Chicago signs a $21 million contract with Alta Bicycle Share for a 3,000-bike, 300-station system. Crain's Business Journal and Chicago Reader are reporting that the Chicago Inspector General is considering looking into irregularities in the award process. Two of companies have filed formal protest to the award.


Toronto bIXI celebrates if first anniversary with over 550,000 trips. Toronto has the distinction of being the only North American bike-sharing system north of the 43rd parallel to remain open through the winter months. It also has the distinction of being one of the most expensive systems to use, charging $95 CDN ($95 US) for a yearly subscription.

This week the Métro system run by Société de Transport de Montréal, STM, came to a halt and Montréal bIXI came to the rescue. With a disruption of train service affecting 200,000 commuters, biXi swiftly put out more stations to help ease a commuter nightmare. Over 4,500 bIXI trips were taken between 8 AM - 10 AM during the shutdown.

Also out of Montreal are law suits between Public Bike System Company, PBSC, the makers of the bIXI system and its long-time back-end software suppliers 8D. According 8D's press release, they are suing PBSC for $26,000,000 for a business relationship dispute. PBSC states in it's press release that they are suing 8D for $2,500,000 for over-billing. 

Writing about STM, there is talk in the Montreal Gazette about STM taking over the management of Montréal's bIXI. The Gazette indicates that Michel Philibert, the bIXI spokesperson, believes there is "a certain logic" to STM running the bike-sharing program. 

There seems to be a lot going on in Montreal. So stay turned with The Bike-sharing Blog.

images: Clear Channel, PubliBike, Huangyan, russblib Houston BixiToronto

Russell Meddin

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