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  #21  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2011, 3:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
The funding was NOT secured. An application had been sent in, but it was not approved until October. My only guess is that the Tribune made a mistake, or just wrote a lazily-worded article. In any event, that article comes from before Chicago had any money allocated to bikesharing, and so whatever it says cannot be taken as budgetary truth, but only the goal.
I interpreted the article to mean that the bike sharing program it had detailed (i.e., 300 stations constructed during 2012) would be implemented if $18 million in funding for which the city had applied were secured. (The article referenced this application process and that exact figure in the final paragraph.) And, at some point after the article was written, that funding—all $18 million—was indeed secured. So why would we assume the plan (for the construction of 300 stations in 2012) to have changed?

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Not at all. It's just that New York's goals and funding plans have been widely known for a long time, whereas Chicago's sort of materialized out of the blue, at least for me. At this point, I would say Chicago's plans are more concrete-looking than New York's, because New York is seemingly still negotiating with its sponsor.

It takes 3-4 months for Bixi to manufacture bikes and stations, ship them, and then get them installed. So if New York doesn't announce its sponsor in January it may have a hard time meeting that April goal for roll-out. Unless they decide to fork over public funding, which they could still do (and which the city of NY is almost certainly capable of doing on its own, if they must).
Okay, that's clarifying. Thank you.
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  #22  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2011, 7:38 PM
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So why would we assume the plan (for the construction of 300 stations in 2012) to have changed?
Because all $18 million is not available this year. It is spread out over 3 years. We don't know how much of it is available in the first year, but it has to be at least $9 million (plus the TIGER money) to reach 300 right away.
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  #23  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2011, 9:06 PM
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Some 2011 results for Montreal Bike Sharing program

Trips: 4 174 917 ( +25% compare to 2010)
Users: 125 831 ( + 8% compare to 2010)
Stations: 405
Bikes: 5050

Service is availaible from April 15 to November 15.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2012, 2:15 AM
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Has Chicago identified an operator for the system and a supplier for the bikes/stations? A good operator and a well-designed payment/security system is essential. The Rome bikeshare system was a joke - stations were frequent enough but very few of them had available bicycles, and many of the mounting brackets were damaged and pulling out of the pavement. My suspicion is that theft and vandalism were to blame... there is no security deposit and only a 15-euro fee to get a reloadable touch card.

On the other hand, Paris' Velib was impeccably maintained, but the high security deposit (150 EU) was more than I could afford.

One thing I'm worried about in the Chicago system is branding. I don't mind tasteful kiosk ads at each station, but I refuse to ride bikes that are branded with the name and ridiculous color schemes of a corporation.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2012, 5:45 PM
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Why? How should that affect your riding experience? Those ads pay for the bikes. They wouldn't be available if not for the branding.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2012, 6:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Why? How should that affect your riding experience? Those ads pay for the bikes. They wouldn't be available if not for the branding.
Wouldn't you feel a bit weird riding around in a bike that had a huge golden arches McDonald's logo on it? I would.

I'd almost feel like I'm perceived as parading around for the company to promote their product or something.

Having said that, the initial feeling of jackassery would probably subside over time, as the citizenry of the city gets "used to" the idea of the bike sharing system and that the ads have nothing to do with the rider, kind of like what you see with taxicabs in many cities.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2012, 7:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Fun. Let's go even further.
Code:
City      Trips	     Stations  Trips/Station  Days Open	  Trips/Station/Day
DC  	  1,088,145  140       7772	      365	  21.3		
Denver    202,731    52        3899	      271  	  14.4
If anyone has a link to Boston, Minneapolis, or Miami Beach ridership figures, please share. I haven't found one. Also, for Boston and Minneapolis please share the dates they opened and closed for the season, since they (like Denver) shut down in the winter.
According to the news section on the Nice Ride MN website, they had 100,817 trips in 2010. No 2011 number that I can see, but they apparently gave ride #200,000 of the season on or before October 20th. The 2011 operating season closed Nov. 6th.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 2:32 AM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Wouldn't you feel a bit weird riding around in a bike that had a huge golden arches McDonald's logo on it? I would.
Do you feel weird riding trains/buses with ads on the side? I certainly don't.

I also don't feel weird riding my private bike, which has the logo of the company in prominent letters.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 3:46 AM
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Alabama has one city with a bikeshare program. Montevallo, population around 5,000. Has something like 3 stations and 70 bikes. Regions Financial, based in Birmingham, has been donating a crap load of bikes all over the state since (for whatever reason) bikes are part of their marketing campaign. I see them all over the UA campus.

There's been a bit of talk about establishing a citywide system in Tuscaloosa. With the tornado reconstruction, the city wants to build a greenway following the path of the tornado, and a bikeshare system seems like it would be a quality addition for the city; especially for those who don't have enough money to afford a car.

Also, there was an article in today's Birmingham News about Alabama Power establishing a company bikeshare system that seems to be quite successful. I hope it catches on.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 6:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Do you feel weird riding trains/buses with ads on the side? I certainly don't.

I also don't feel weird riding my private bike, which has the logo of the company in prominent letters.
People choose their bike, which means they also accept any baggage carried by the brand name. I ride a vintage Schwinn because it was American-made (in Chicago to boot) and it is a solid son-of-a-bitch. My choice of Schwinn over other brands and models was partially rooted in my desire to use an American-built bike, counter-balanced with the usual concerns about riding style, practicality, and durability.

What I'm getting at is that bicycle culture in the US is intensely personal. Maybe casual bikeshare cyclists in Europe don't see those cycles as a personal statement, but I sure as hell do, just like some oil executive wants a Beamer to reflect his success and an eco-mentalist wants a Prius to reflect his conscience. If bikeshare bikes are goofy-looking and corporate branded, I think it will really hurt the adoption of this new form of mobility.

To answer your question, yes, I do feel ashamed to ride in a transit vehicle that is branded - or, at least, the fully-wrapped ones. We should feel shameful that our transit systems and their riders have to debase themselves and grovel at the feet of corporations because our society won't bother to fund transit at even a bare bones level.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 6:34 AM
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What I'm getting at is that bicycle culture in the US is intensely personal.
Ah, I think we've identified the issue. Bikesharing isn't for people who self-identify as members of the "bicycle culture". The target market is not people who think of themselves as serious bicyclists. The whole point of bikesharing is to make cycling a simple and easily-accessible mode of transit for the 99% of the population that will never care to don lycra, and doesn't know a carbon nanofiber frame from a stainless steel one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila
To answer your question, yes, I do feel ashamed to ride in a transit vehicle that is branded. We should feel shameful that our transit systems and their riders have to debase themselves and grovel at the feet of corporations because our society won't bother to fund transit at even a bare bones level.
Yes yes, very noble. Now, back in the real world where we have to make practical decisions, here are your options:

A) Transit (and public bikes) with ads.
B) No transit (or public bikes) at all.

You get to pick one; there is no option C. Which shall it be?
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  #32  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 6:38 AM
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Originally Posted by tredici View Post
Alabama has one city with a bikeshare program. Montevallo...
Very interesting. I had no idea. Do you have a link?
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  #33  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 7:12 AM
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Very interesting. I had no idea. Do you have a link?
I certainly do ValloCycle

For those of you who are not familiar, Montevallo is just south of Birmingham, about a 30 minute drive from downtown on I65. It's home to a pretty good liberal arts college, University of Montevallo.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2012, 10:19 PM
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Aha, I've figured out why none of the bikesharing websites list Vallocycle, and why I didn't know about it: It's not really bikesharing. It's bike rental.

Don't get me wrong, it's an awesome program and is probably perfect for a town like Montevallo. I am not criticizing it when I say it isn't bikesharing. I'm just saying it's a different animal than the systems my original list was looking at.

There are two key differences:
1) How rentals are handled, and 2) how long rentals are intended to last.

Rental handling:
In a "bikesharing" system, almost everything is automated. Specially-designed bikes are locked into specially-designed stations. To access a bike, users swipe a membership card which unlocks a bike from the station. In a "bike rental" system, the bikes are kept in a storage room or a shed or something like that, and users access them by getting an attendant (a real person) to unlock one for them.

Rental times:
In "bikesharing" users are not supposed to keep the bikes very long. The idea is that they should be accessed and then put back into another station within 1/2 hour. You pick up a bike, ride it wherever you're going, and then drop it off at another station near your final destination. In "bike rental" you keep your bike for hours or days at a time, and return it to the same place you got it from.

It appears that Montevallo is bike rental because to get a bike you walk up to someone and ask them to get you one, and because the rental period is for up to 8 days at a time. This is a very different usage model than the automated, high-turnover Bixi and B-cycle systems.

I'm not entirely sure how widespread Montevallo-style bike rental programs are, but they are definitely not unheard of. For example, the University of Colorado in Boulder has a similar program called Buff Bikes that is totally separate from Boulder's B-cycle bikesharing network.

Again: This is not a criticism. Montevallo's program looks awesome. I am just explaining that it's different.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 2:18 AM
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Question for Montreal, Mpls, etc. Are the bike share services in these snowy cities open year round? Boston's Hubway service launched at the beginning of August this year and was open through November. It will open again in March.

New Balance sponsors Hubway and Alta Bicycle Share operates it. Right now there are only 61 stations, but this number will more than double next year, with the program expanding to Cambridge, Brookline and Somerville, as well as additional stations throughout Boston proper.

The only ridership numbers I can find say "over 140,000 trips in the program's first ten weeks of operation." Not bad for only 20% of the year!
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  #36  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 8:05 AM
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Aha, I've figured out why none of the bikesharing websites list Vallocycle, and why I didn't know about it: It's not really bikesharing. It's bike rental.

Don't get me wrong, it's an awesome program and is probably perfect for a town like Montevallo. I am not criticizing it when I say it isn't bikesharing. I'm just saying it's a different animal than the systems my original list was looking at.
Thanks for clarifying. I think that since the whole idea is quite foreign to the state of Alabama, bike share and bike rental seem like exactly the same thing. I think that systems similar to ValloCycle are pretty common; the University of Alabama has Bama Bikes. Bama Bikes works by students paying a certain fee per semester, and throughout that semester they have access to any available BB bikes throughout campus. From what I've heard, it's pretty similar to the system that covers the city of Montevallo.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 9:15 AM
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Question for Montreal, Mpls, etc. Are the bike share services in these snowy cities open year round? Boston's Hubway service launched at the beginning of August this year and was open through November. It will open again in March.
.
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Originally Posted by PhilippeMtl View Post
Some 2011 results for Montreal Bike Sharing program

Trips: 4 174 917 ( +25% compare to 2010)
Users: 125 831 ( + 8% compare to 2010)
Stations: 405
Bikes: 5050

Service is availaible from April 15 to November 15.
Personally I enjoy riding in the snow but that does not appear to be the consensus.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 3:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
.

Personally I enjoy riding in the snow but that does not appear to be the consensus.
snow is one thing, ice is quite another. i'm a year round bike commuter here in chicago, but when ice season comes around, i won't roll unless i have the safety and security of my my studded winter tires on my winter bike. i had taken some nasty spills on ice in the past before i got wise about studded winter tires.

but the whole winter bike thing in cold winter cities does bring up the problem of what people who become accustomed to using these bike share systems are supposed to for the 4-5 months when they're shut-down. real transportation solutions need to be available all year long, because people's lives go on all year long.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 9:35 AM
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  1. Washington/Arlington, DC/VA: 140 stations
  2. Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MD: 115 stations
  3. Miami Beach, FL: 70 stations
  4. Boston, MA: 61 stations
  5. Denver, CO: 52 stations*
  6. Madison, WI: 27 stations
  7. Broward County, FL: 20 stations
  8. San Antonio, TX: 20 stations
  9. Boulder, CO: 15 stations*
  10. Washington State University - Pullman, WA: 8 stations
  11. Chicago, IL: 7 stations
  12. Omaha, NE: 5 stations
  13. University of California - Irvine: 4 stations
  14. Des Moines, IA: 4 stations
  15. Louisville, KY: 3 stations
  16. Kailua, HI: 2 stations
  17. Spartanburg, SC: 2 stations
* Denver and Boulder are counted separately, but cross-honor memberships. Together they have 67 stations.
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Originally Posted by PLANSIT View Post
Denver will be adding 35 stations in 2012 - a 67% increase.
So that will put Denver up to 82 stations, plus Boulder's 15 stations for a total of 97 stations available to members in the Denver metro area. In addition to this, they are seriously looking at extending the service to 365 days per year, instead of closing during winter months. They could remain open 365 days, as soon as this season (spring). They are running tests this winter, to determine extra costs from wear and tear on bikes being used during the winter. Year around service is probably inevidible, as Denver enjoys sunny days throughout the winter months and the people are used to using their own bikes, year around. There is a strong, very strong, bike culture, in Colorado.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 11:35 AM
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snow is one thing, ice is quite another. i'm a year round bike commuter here in chicago, but when ice season comes around, i won't roll unless i have the safety and security of my my studded winter tires on my winter bike. i had taken some nasty spills on ice in the past before i got wise about studded winter tires.

but the whole winter bike thing in cold winter cities does bring up the problem of what people who become accustomed to using these bike share systems are supposed to for the 4-5 months when they're shut-down. real transportation solutions need to be available all year long, because people's lives go on all year long.
Very true. Back when I lived on campus, at Alabama, during January and early February when it would be in the low 20s and upper teens in the mornings, it would be a pain in the ass to ride to class. Fortunately our bus system was available, but (as it still is now) it was unreliable as a method to get around campus.
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