Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Boise Bike Share '14

A bike-sharing program looks to be a reality by this summer. At least according to this article on the Idaho Statesman website. (Apologies if the "paywall" blocks you from viewing the article.) Here are some details that caught my attention:

- The current likely contractor is "Social Bicycles" (SoBi), and the model is to have 140 bikes that can be either returned to one of 14 hub locations, or just locked to a bike rack anywhere. Q: Can the bike be removed, or parked, outside the city limits? And if not, how is a user to know?

- A customer can "check out a bike and ride it free for as long as 60 minutes of rides per day." Hmmm. Previously they've indicated that members would get "unlimited use, in 30-minute increments." Maybe I'm mistaken, but I've assumed that in many bike shares a bike can be checked out for up to 60 minutes at a time without incurring extra fees. And that such check-outs could be made more than once per day - for example, a 40-minute trip to your destination, and then another 40-minute trip back to your starting point. That scenario would apparently incur extra charges in the SoBi Boise model.

- The bikes provided by SoBi don't have a chain - they have a drive shaft. Interesting. The upside - less maintenance. (Although the ongoing cost per bike is projected to be $25/month.) The downside? There's no way a drive shaft can be as efficient as a chain... but I expect that won't be a dealbreaker for people who will ride for one hour or less per day.

- The startup cost is expected to be $324K, much of it covered by taxpayers. However, the manager, Dave Fotsch, hopes that the $400K annual ongoing operating budget will be paid by system users and private sponsors. If they can do it with private funds, I'm on board! (I continue to be skeptical about our already-bankrupt government taking on more debt.)

(SoBi already operates a bike share in Hailey, but only 18 bikes are involved... and around 50 regular users.)

I've commented about the proposed Boise Bike Share previously... most recently HERE.

1 comment:

Clancy Anderson said...

Without discussing the need or feasibility of a bike share, I like this model of bike share. It seems like you can get more bang for the buck while being very flexible for users.