Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bike Share Rolls Closer to Philadelphia with Vendor and Timeline Announcement

Today the City of Philadelphia moved one big step closer to the launch of our much-anticipated, much-needed bike share system. A Philadelphia Inquirer article this morning names the City's selected vendors for supplying the equipment, running the system, and marketing the naming rights. An official press conference is set for 2:00 PM today on the Art Museum steps.
Mayor Nutter checking out bike share bikes at an exhibition in Rittenhouse Square this time last year.

The City has selected vendors whose resum├ęs give us confidence in their ability to deliver a world-class bike share system. The equipment vendor, B Cycle, has a good track record of providing high-quality, reliable bike share bikes. For the curious, they are not the bike share company which drew some attention recently for declaring bankruptcy.

Bicycle Transit Systems (aka Bicycle Trans) has been selected to run the system. On paper they are a new firm, but they are staffed by people with extensive knowledge of launching and running other cities' bike share systems. And they are based in Philadelphia!

Philadelphia is also doing something smart in splitting off the corporate sponsorship piece and hiring Front Row Marketing to pursue that funding directly. This should allow us to maximize the money obtained through sponsorship. (Just spit-balling here, but what about "Ryan Howard's Bike Share System?" He's looking better this season, but supporting bicycling would help us forget that .198 average against lefties the past 3 seasons.)

For those curious about our role in this, we have been advisers to the city's deliberations up to this point, and will be taking a lead role in the equity component of bike share - making sure the system is accessible to all Philadelphians. But we will not be running the system.

Philadelphia is behind other cities in the adoption and implementation of a bike share system. But one advantage of this is that we can learn from the best practices honed in those other cities. (One example of that is hiring a marketing firm explicitly to secure corporate sponsorship.) And we are pleased that Philadelphia is taking the time to get this right, and launch in the spring when adoption will be easiest.

If you like your news fresh and locally-sourced, you can attend the press conference today at 2PM at the Art Museum Steps. You can also check out the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY Newsworks coverage.

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