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.' "


JScribe said...

I can't believe Porland won't end up with a program at this time. I've been wondering why DC was "chosen" over other bike friendly cities such as Portland to start a bike sharing program like SmartBikeDC--but I guess it might just be DC's willingness to work the business end of it. SmartBike is still not here and I'm starting to worry about it!

JScribe said...

I've been reading the Bike-Sharing Blog for several weeks now and seeing all the cool things that are going on in other cities makes me feel like SmartBikeDC is STILL behind these other programs. Do you think that this system is equivolent to others?

Anonymous said...

Updated info on Portland's plans to re-evaluate their RFP approach for a bike-sharing system at

Paul DeMaio said...

Meanjean, DC launched its Request for Proposals over four years ago for the bike-sharing program that hopefully will launch next month. So it was DC that did the "chosing".

This system is equivalent to others around Europe. The SmartBike technology that's set for DC is the same that's used in Barcelona's Bicing.

Michael, thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul and readers,

Just a quick note from the Portland Office of Transportation that we haven't given up on bike-sharing. We decided that we needed to do more research before making a final decision.