Friday, August 24, 2012

Bike-sharing Creates Job

With the U.S. political conventions next month and Presidential election in November, there is much talk about the nation's economy and job creation. During this time of budget cuts to important Federal and state programs, it is important to consider how the bike-sharing industry is contributing to the local economy of the cities and towns where these services exist and the jobs they provide. In addition to being employment, these jobs are green, improving the local environment and air quality. Right from their start-up, bike-sharing services can contribute 10 - 20 jobs to the local economy for smaller implementations and 30 - 50 jobs for larger ones.

A sample of bike-sharing services in the U.S. and Europe shows the following full-time and part-time jobs created for the various services. (Click on the chart below to enlarge.)

Not only has bike-sharing become a job creator, but it has also helped people get to their jobs. With annual memberships between $50 - $80, people are getting to work fast, adding daily activity to their lives to stay fit, and saving money. In fact, survey analysis by Capital Bikeshare in the Washington, D.C. region, suggests that members saved $819 per year on personal travel costs which is an annual savings of $15 million among the service's 18,000 at the time of the survey.

Friday, August 17, 2012

New York City Postpones Bike-share until March 2013

In a press release Friday morning, the New York City Department of Transportation has made it official that the city will not have Citi Bike until March 2013. After much speculation, (see The Bike-sharing Blog on August 5th and August 9th) the 2012 summer saga of bike-sharing in New York City is hibernating before it even wakes up!

Update: On a WOR radio program this week, New York Mayor Bloomberg said,"Unfortunately there are software issues......The software doesn’t work. Duh! Until it works, we’re not going to put it (the program) out until it does work."

Russell Meddin

Saturday, August 11, 2012

MetroBike is Hiring!

Want to work in a field that's rapidly changing and changing the world? Then come work for MetroBike! We're hiring for a Bicycle Planner in our Washington, D.C. office. Individuals with bike-sharing, cycle planning, and car-sharing experience are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Bike-sharing World - Second Week of August 2012


      Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville, Massachusetts 
Installation of new station in Somerville
August 8, 2012 marks the first major expansion of The Hubway in the Boston metropolitan area. The Hubway is now a regional system rather than a city system. There are a total of 77  bike-share stations of which 64 are in Boston, two in Brookline, eight in Cambridge and three in Somerville. By the end of this season, the regional system will include 111 stations and 1,100 bikes. To celebrate, according to the Boston Globe, the system had an all day "Rolling Lauch Party" with events in each of the municipalities. With each new area having its own new stations and a new web presence, the system is now just called The Hubway instead of New Balance Hubway.

Speaking of expansions, over this summer, both Nice Ride Minnesota and Capital Bikeshare have made extensive increases in the amount of bikes and stations in their respective systems. Nice Ride, now in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, has gone from 700 bikes in 65 stations at its start to around 1,350 bikes in about 145 stations today. Capital Bikshare in Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C. started with 1,100 bikes in 114 stations and now has close to 1,500 bikes in 179 stations.

                               Denver, Colorado

Make a reservation for a Denver B-cycle. Is this the start of something really big in the evolution of bike-sharing? For the upcoming Denver Ciclovia, Viva Streets 2012, on August 12, Denver B-cycle is taking advance reservations for annual members to put a bike on hold. Just fill out this form with the number from your B-cycle card. The Bike-sharing Blog would like to hear from people who use this special service about your experience.

                              Chattanooga, Tennessee

An article in The New York Daily News seems to imply that the Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System is where the future of bike-sharing for New York City and even the world will be found. It could be that Chattanooga will be the testing ground for new technologies for systems the same as Citi Bike. So let us sit back and relax and watch what unfolds in this story one transaction at a time.

                             Chicago, Illinois
                                                              photo Lloyd Alter
Bike-sharing will not be coming to Chicago before next year. "Rather than rush to get the bikes on the street … we are looking to launch in the spring so we can ensure that we do this right, and have the infrastructure and planning fully in place so the program is a success from Day One," read the message from Peter Scales, spokesperson for Chicago's Department of Transportation, sent to the Chicago Sun TimesThe paper also reports that he denied that the delay was connected to the ongoing investigation by the Chicago Inspector General to the claim, by a losing bidder, that the contract awarded for the City's bike-share system was tainted by a conflict of interest. He also denied that although Chicago is planning to use the same system as New York City, the delay there did not affect the delay in Chicago.


Although Citi Bikes are not rolling along the streets of New York City so far this summer as planned, they are rolling off the assembly line at a very fast pace. These smiling workers at Devinci Cycles put un peu d'amour (some love) in each of the bikes they are sending to New York City.


Dublinbikes will start to triple its size from 550 bikes to 1,500 bikes by the end of this year. If all goes as planned, according to The Irish Times, 56 new stations will be installed before the end of 2012. This is to be the beginning of a five-year plan to increase the size of one of the most successful bike-sharing systems in the world to 5,000 bikes in 300 stations. This is not bad for city with a population of a little over 500,000 people. There are currently around 46,000 long-term subscribers to dublinbikes. Daily usage is still around 13 times per bike per day according to Cycling in Dublin. That's high by any standard.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Bike-sharing World - First Week of August 2012

                                     Olympic Fever

From our good friend Oliver O'Brien are instructions on how to use Barclays Cycle Hire to travel to the London Summer Olympics. It is not as easy as it should be, as there are no Barclays stations allowed at the Olympic Park because Barclays Bank is not the Official Financial Institution sponsor of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. In his "How to 'Boris Bike' To Olympic Park" he also tells which entry gates have the least wait time to get into the Park. Oliver O'Brien is the creator of the Bike Share Maps which are great companions to The World Bike-sharing Map.

So if you are in London this week for the Olympics, and you want to bike-share to the games, rely on O'Brien' s tips and Map to get you to the Olympic sites.


As mentioned in the last week's post, Warsaw, Poland began Veturilo -- Warsaw Public Bicyles on August 1, 2012. Veturilo means vehicle or transportation in Esperanto. The name was picked through an internet contest.

Initial reports indicate that over 7,000 subscribers have registered in just a few days. It costs 10zł ($3 US) to register with no expiration date. The first 20 minutes of usage is at no additional charge. Between 20 minutes and one hour, the cost is 1zł (30¢ US). The next hour is 3zł (90¢ US), the third hour is 5zł ($1.50 US), and each additional hour costs 7zł ($2.10 US). Veturilo is part of the nextbike system.


                      Nashville, Tennessee
This week the City of Nashville, Tennessee announced it will begin a new automated 3rd generation - 200 bike, 20 station - bike-share program with B-cycle this fall. What makes this interesting is that Nashville has a successful 'no fee' 1st generation system, Nashville GreenBikeswhich is to remain in place. This could be a great opportunity for Nashville to emulate some European bike-share cities which have both subscription short term bike-sharing (VLS - vélo libre service) and long term municipal bike borrowing (VLD - vélo location longue durée). With VLD, residents of a city have the opportunity to borrow a bicycle at little or no charge for a term of one week to one year. There is generally a refundable damage/theft deposit and in some cases the terms are renewable. The borrower is totally responsible for the bicycle and maintenance during the term. These bikes are not part of the short term system and cannot use the docking stations. The idea behind these bicycle loans, as in 3rd generation bike-sharing, is to facilitate bicycle-use for transportation. VLD is also viewed as an entry into bicycle ownership for those who initially cannot afford it. A February 2012 article in  The Bike-sharing Blog wrote about the Bordeaux, France VLD program, Bicycle City of Bordeaux.

                         New York, New York
This was to be the first week of the New York City bike-share program, Citi Bike. New York's cicloviaSummer Streets, would have showcased the new system. The stated launch date for Citi Bike was July 31, 2012. The anticipation in North America was great. As the first really large program, New York was to have 10,000 bikes in 600 stations in its first year. However, in mid-July, the The New York Times reported Citi Bike would not start as scheduled.

In a radio interview also according to The New York Times, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
 attributed the delay to, “software, plain and simple.” He said, “The company that’s managing it changed vendors to have new software,” referring to Alta Bicycle Share, the system's operating company. He continued, “and it just doesn’t work yet.”

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Chattanooga Bicycle Transit Systemusing the exact same equipment and software as the New York system, also operated by Alta Bicycle Share, is up and running and has been for almost two weeks. The software seems to work there.

The hardware and software supplier is Public Bike Systems Company (PBSC). When asked about the problem, according to The Montreal Gazette, the PBSC spokesperson Michel Philibert said he could not comment on the delay in New York. Asked if New York’s delay is related to the software problem, Philibert said, “What I can tell you is we are in line with our delivery schedule – we are delivering the bikes and stations,” he said. “We are respecting our contract with Alta Bike Share.”

To add to the confusion, The New York Post alluded to "inside information": one insider said the program might be shelved until next spring if the delay reaches late October. “No one wants to do this in November,” the insider said. “You’d be looking at Spring [2013].” The Post quotes a source saying that Alta Bicycle Share has asked the lead sponsor to accelerate payments of $3.5 million in case the program is delayed until next spring and runs out of cash.

For all of us expecting New York bike-sharing, this is all very curious. But take heart, if you are in New York City for Summer Streets, a vacation, for business or resident, you can satisfy your bike-share desire by using Decobike in Long Beach, New York, which is just east of Brooklyn. It is a quick train ride there and it's on the ocean. You can enjoy the bikes and beach!

images Limcorp, Suprageogarphy,  VeturiloNashville B-cycle, Nashville Green Bikes, citibikenyc

Russell Meddin