Sunday, July 11, 2010

Philly Looking at Bike Sharing from the Sidelines

Five months after the release of the ground breaking bike sharing feasibility report Philadelphia has made no public progress on the introduction of a bike sharing system. When the report was finalized only two major North American cities-Montreal and Washington maintained a public bicycle program. But several cities are now moving forward and implementing bike sharing :

Denver - Denver B-Cycle was the first large scale operation in the United States. The service began on Earth Day of this year with 500 bikes. 18,000 trips were taken in the first 2 months.
Minneapolis - NiceRide MN with 700 bikes kicked off on June 10th, 14,400 trips were recorded in the first 30 days.
Miami Beach - DECOBIKE with 100 stations and 1000 bikes will launch in August.
Washington DC and Arlington, VA - A greatly expanded program called Capital Bikeshare will replace SmartBike DC in September with 1100 bikes at 114 locations. The new program will be about 10 times larger than the present system.
Boston, MA - Received 3 Million dollars from the Federal Transit Administration to launch a program with 500 bikes at 50 stations. This will be the first US bike share program started up with federal transit funds. The projected launch date is in the Spring of 2011.
San Antonio, TX and Chicago, IL - Are working with B-Cycle to launch pilot programs in their respective cities. These are the first entries among the top 10 largest US cities.
Mexico City - The largest city on the continent launched Ecobici in February with 1100 bikes. The 100,000th trip was recorded three months later on May 15th.

DECOBIKE's promotional video combines cycle chic with a 1950's era public service announcement

You can help the cause for bike sharing in Philadelphia by sending a note to the Mayor.


Dan said...

The trip numbers sound impressive until you divide the number of trips by the number of days and bikes. In Minneapolis there were 0.68 trips per bike each day. In Denver there are 0.6 trips and in Mexico City there is 1 trip per day for each bike.

There does not seem to be much demand for bike sharing in these cities. I suspect that there will be a similar low demand in Philadelphia. So after spending all the money on setting up the program they are used less than once a day.

The money spent on bike sharing would be much better spent finishing the various trails being developed along the two waterfronts.

John Boyle said...

Dan you are correct, perhaps the limited geography of 1000 bikes/100 stations in a major city is below the threshold of high usage. Most program are also in year 1 so numbers will increase as more people sign up.

Last year BIXI in Montreal started with 3,000 bikes and ended with 5000 for the fall. It reached the one millionth trip mark in late October. This year with 5000 bikes and a year of experience BIXI reached one million trips in only two months. 1M trips/5000 bikes/60 days = 3.4 trips per bike or 17,000 daily trips.

Paris and Lyon systems are at least citywide and cover parts of the suburbs, and the bikes average between 7 and 8 trips per day.

Charlie said...