Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bike-sharing - coming to Boise?

There was a brief article on the Statesman website about a possible bike sharing program coming to town.

The Central District Health Department (State of Idaho) envisions deploying 140 bicycles, in 14 stations scattered about town. I s'pose it would be similar, but on a smaller scale, to Boston's "Hubway" scheme that I commented on last month.

The Health Department is involved, because they want to fight back against the "obesity epidemic" and bad air quality. Noble motives, to be sure... but as much as I'd like to, I can't imagine that local-errand bikes will make much of a dent. (I snidely commented that the bikes will enable people to run for a big fast-food lunch.)

Another eyebrow-raiser is the cost... the grant the CDHD has applied for is $650,000. That figures out to about $4600 per bike. Mamma mia!! I'm thinkin' private enterprise could do it for substantially less... they ought to let out a contract. (Or perhaps they don't think people will participate, unless it's on Italian racing bikes with the full Campy Record setup!)


Mark said...

LoL, the last time bike sharing was tried in Boise, it was the "yellow bike" program. I watched volunteers spend days fixing bikes and painting them yellow. By the end of the first day, every single bike had disappeared. Hopefully, they will have better luck this time.

Bikeboy said...

Mark, I remember that, as well. Unfortunately, "free" isn't practical in a society where there is no sense of loyalty and responsibility.

The "business model" is way different on current bike share programs, in that there's some accountability.

According to the Boston Hubway website, you can join and your membership includes unlimited 30-minute borrows (and longer ones for an extra fee). One-time users can use a credit card to get onboard for 24 hours, or for 3 days.

Les said...

Almost every single one of these schemes all over the world seems to fail. Why?
Because people don't look after things that they haven't payed for. That's why. Simple.

On top of that, people that use these "loaner bikes" for the most part don't know what they're doing!

I have been in the bike rental business 5 years now and I am finally realising all of this... yet another broken frame this week... plus another taco'd wheel... earlier this month it was a broken ultegra shifter... *sigh*

I really don't know how it's possible... honestly, the "broken parts tally" is now unbelievably long. Up until now I have covered all of this 'unintentional' damage out of my own expenses, but this week it's enough for me to type "bike nazi" into google and stumble across this website.