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Bixi's Bankruptcy: Time for a New Bike Share Model?

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Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/28/2014 1:44:14 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: citibike
Thanks for continuing the debate here, CitySolver.

What I'm hearing from you is that you don't like the uniformity of bike share, and that the user isn't really given a choice. I understand that. If you're an avid, experienced cyclist, then bike share may not be sufficient for your needs.

So let's address your concept -- why can't bike rental places set up their own bike share networks? I would say that there are a couple of problems here. First, I'm sure they don't have the capacity to serve entire cities. Secondly, it would probably be much more complicated to fit those bikes out with the technology necessary to make bike share systems functional across an urban network, than it is to mass produce a bunch of bikes specifically for this purpose.

That said, maybe the next phase of bike share will see more variety?

CitySolver
CitySolver  
1/28/2014 12:03:21 PM
User Rank Blogger
citibike
I see, very good arguments, especially about being able to pick up and drop off. Also sharing bikes is green, I have no issue that sharing bikes is the best way, but why must they all be the same (londons included as you rightly point out)? Why must bike share mean, ugly bikes that have no suspension for all those potholes. My point about bike hire shops is that these would replace the docks and they would be as ubiquitous as the docks are. So you walk in, choose your bike, scan your credit card, the lock releases, you walk out with your bike, you drop ot off near your destination at the next drop in shop, no different from docks just more choice and quality. I just hate the idea that to go green means everyone has to look the same. Why cant we learn that people are driven by desire, ease of use, comfort, style, money etc as much as they are about the green agenda. I cant see people embracing the green agenda if it remains 'Green'!! It needs to blend in, to infiltrate the market, become the market. For instance, whats stopping bike companies setting up there own docks with top of the range bikes, where you can sign up with a loyalty card. Have citi bikes yes, but have choices, competition, costs driven down, companies profitable enough to give back to the community not be 50 million dollars in the hole etc. This comment post was very much influenced by Adam Warbecks book 'Sustainability-A business manifesto!! btw, which is all about breaking down the 'us-them' phenomena in the green debate on both sides.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/28/2014 11:43:56 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Bike and Roll
Hi CitySolver: I have to wholeheartedly disagree with you here, and let me explain why.

For starters, Bike and Roll and other bike rental services are great, but they serve a completely different purpose than bike share does. Renting a bike from a place like Bike and Roll is great if you're looking to tour the city or go for a long, leisurely ride. Citi Bike and similar bike share services (Boris Bikes as well, which are just as clunky and ugly as Citi Bikes) are to get you from Point A to B. With bike share docks all over the city, I can decide at any time to pick up a bike, if it's the most efficient way for me to get somewhere, take it to my destination, drop it off, and never think about it again. You can't do that with a standard bike rental service... you need to lock it up as though it were your own bike, drop it off at the rental place... it's a whole hassle that is not effective if you're just looking to make a short trip, or go that "last mile."

Re: "TO be seen on one of them is like announcing to the world, I cant afford a taxi, or I am not serious enough about going green to have my own bike."

I disagree here fully. Riding a bike in NYC is usually faster and more efficient than taking a taxi, seeing as taxis get stuck in traffic, especially crossing town. And I don't agree with the green comment at all... I actually think sharing bikes is more green than owning your own. And as long as you're cycling at all, what's the difference if you own the bike or are renting it, as far as seriousness about going "green" goes? I think to be seen on a shared bike is to show that you're embracing the "sharing economy" and the green direction your city is taking.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
1/28/2014 11:22:44 AM
User Rank Blogger
Bike and Roll
I see. Do you not think it would be better to have a bike and roll system instead of bike docks? THe bikes look clunky and I would not be seen dead on one and I am a very keen cyclist, and not particularly fashion oriented (unlike alot of New Yorkers). TO be seen on one of them is like announcing to the world, I cant afford a taxi, or I am not serious enough about going green to have my own bike. Surly just having drop in shops in every distrit where normal bikes can be hired would solve the 'clunk-unhygenic-clutter making' bike docks. Thats just my biased opinion as I think that there is a massive difference between a clunky bike and a proper European town bike which is comfortable and stylish!! Sorry I think the UK do bikes very well, Ha, incidently though my last bike was a Marin and I loved it until it was stolen last month :(

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/27/2014 10:17:36 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: So sad is that the only reason for this programs to exist is bike theft
Exactly... this all goes back to the uselessness of "us vs. them." We all pay for services and things that have nothing to do with our lives directly, it's part of existing in a city and a society in general. I don't even think that motorists really buy their own arguments here, how many people are really paying that close attention to where every cent of their tax dollars go? I think this is more about the angst drivers feel toward anything that seems to be anti-car.

NewDream
NewDream  
1/27/2014 10:14:06 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: So sad is that the only reason for this programs to exist is bike theft
"Of course, then you get pushback from motorists who say their gas taxes are going toward road infrastructure and they shouldn't have to pay for bike lanes, etc. I don't really buy that argument, though."

Nicole, I don't buy that argument at all. It's as vacuous as "I don't have kids so I shouldh't have to pay school taxes."

By living in a city, we are buying into a certain level of services for which we are expected to pay taxes. That part of the model is fine. To me, the taxes should be collected from those who have the money, and waived for those who don't...but that is a discussion for another day. As you know, I'd toss out a lot of the rules, too...because I don't think they help people live together in peace.

Anyway...motorists paying for bike lanes are not only making life easier for the bikers, they are also protecting themselves from the repercussions if their land-boat were to mow down a cyclist that had to ride on the road. [There is something horribly mixed about that metaphor, I think, but you get the idea.]

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/27/2014 10:06:01 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Citibike
Citi Bike is the bike share program here in NYC, like Barclay's (or Boris Bikes) in London. We still have regular bike rental services here, though, like Bike and Roll, which are better for tourists looking to cycle around the city and take in the sights.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/27/2014 10:04:38 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: So sad is that the only reason for this programs to exist is bike theft
I totally agree with you on that, NewDream. I don't want to see the expansion of roads that don't take multi-modal transportation into consideration, or parking lots that take up enormous space and don't consider bicycle parking, or parking spots for cars only... it's time to rebuild for the next generation of transportation.

Of course, then you get pushback from motorists who say their gas taxes are going toward road infrastructure and they shouldn't have to pay for bike lanes, etc. I don't really buy that argument, though.

stotheco
stotheco  
1/26/2014 12:58:29 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: So sad is that the only reason for this programs to exist is bike theft
Now that you mention it, it is freeing. It's like getting the perks (using it when you need it) and none of the attached responsibilities (maintenance, repairs, having to ride back home because you can't just leave it anywhere.) I only help more people will find the appeal to bike share, because it is such a great eco-friendly solution.

stotheco
stotheco  
1/26/2014 12:58:28 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: So sad is that the only reason for this programs to exist is bike theft
Now that you mention it, it is freeing. It's like getting the perks (using it when you need it) and none of the attached responsibilities (maintenance, repairs, having to ride back home because you can't just leave it anywhere.) I only help more people will find the appeal to bike share, because it is such a great eco-friendly solution.

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