Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Bike-sharing World - Third Week of November 2014


                 Mexico City

Sad news from Ecobici in Mexico City. Last Friday, a 37 year old man riding Ecobici was fatally struck by a mini-bus on a transit way, according to SPDnoticas. After over 19,700,000 usages in over 4 years that Ecobici has operated in the Federal District, this is the first fatality for bike-sharing in Mexico. 

This terrible event makes an earlier announcement from Ecobici bittersweet. This month Ecobici began its grand expansion into the Benito Juarez section of the city. Work has already begun to bring 2,500 more bikes in 171 new stations to the system, as was reported by Almonent Noticas


Mexico will soon have another fairly large bike-share system in Guadalajara. Mibici is scheduled to begin operation within the next week or two. It will have close to 1,000 bikes in almost 90 stations. Stay tuned to  @BikesharingMap for the notice of Mibici's launch.

Tampa Mayor Buckhorn and Eric Tull of Coast Bike Share coast through the ribbon cutting

This week Tampa, Florida finally coasted into opening a bike-share system, but for members only, Coast Bike Share will open to all on December 7, 2014. With 45 bikes in "hubs" rather than stations, members can try out the bikes. Coast Bike Share is to have 300 bikes in 27 "hubs" to pedal and coast on the streets of Tampa.

Phoenix, Arizona's delayed Grid Bike Share program is reported to be ready to begin operation next week on November 25th.

Scotland, United Kingdom:

The JCDecaux Coca Cola Zero system in Dublin, Ireland
This week JCDecaux, one of the world's largest outdoor advertising companies, as well as one of the largest bike-share systems providers, signed a 10-year agreement with the City of Edinburgh, Scotland. JCDecaux reports a provision of the contract is to "consult with the city for the provision of... a city-wide bicycle-hire scheme."

images Mexico City: Armando Monroy / Cuartoscuro, Guadalajara: DK120, Tampa: Tampabay.com Dublin: Dublinbikes

Russell Meddin            bikesharephiladelphia.org

Keep in touch with The Bike-sharing World with The Bike-sharing World Map. It is the premiere resource for information on cities with bike-sharing programs and the complement to The Bike-sharing Blog. The easy web address for viewing the map is www.bikesharingworld.com.

Follow the Map on Twitter@BikesharingMap

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

MetroBike is Hiring!

MetroBike, LLC is hiring a full-time Bike-share Planner in the Washington, D.C. region. The job description is posted at http://www.metrobike.net/jobs/.

Update: This job has now been filled. Thanks to everyone who expressed interest.

Friday, October 3, 2014

CitiBank Sponsorship opens new branch in Miami for CitiBike

The Bike-sharing World, First Week of October 2014


CitiBank has found that sponsoring bike-sharing is good for business. It now has signed up to be the title sponsor for DecoBike in both Miami Beach and Miami, Florida.

CitiBank and DecoBike announced today that the combined Miami Beach and soon to launch Miami, Florida bike-sharing programs will be called CitiBike. This is in addition to New York City's bike-share service which operates under the same name. CitiBike Miami's website is www.citibikemiami.com. The combined cities will have over 1,750 bikes in 170 stations. The new Miami CitiBike, opening in November will bring to South Florida a new shaft-drive bicycle and new solar powered stations with touch screen kiosks.

Last year in a Digiday article about CitiBank sponsoring bike-share, Elyssa Gray of creative marketing for CitiBank indicated that after only a few months sponsoring bike-sharing that it was headed in an extremely positive direction. “People are talking about and sharing the program in such a positive way — it’s really becoming a part of the fabric of [the] City,” said Gray, “These kinds of opportunities for a brand don’t come by every day.”

In South Florida: "We are very excited to have the commitment of CitiBank as the title sponsor for our successful Miami Beach program as well as for our new expansion into the downtown Miami area and surrounding neighborhoods," says Colby Reese, co-founder of DecoBike. "Miami is an ever-growing metropolis and bike-sharing has already been embraced by our residents and visitors who have logged more than 4.5 million rides in Miami Beach, and we expect similar usage in downtown Miami and its surrounding neighborhoods."

The Bike-sharing Blog believes that title sponsors for bike-sharing programs is a policy to bank on!

image: Citibikemiami.com

Russell Meddin            bikesharephiladelphia.org

Keep in touch with The Bike-sharing World with The Bike-sharing World Map. It is the premiere resource for information on cities with bike-sharing programs and the complement to The Bike-sharing Blog. The easy web address for viewing the map is www.bikesharingworld.com.

Follow the Map on Twitter@BikesharingMap

Monday, September 15, 2014

What Would You Pay? The Per Minute and Buffet Models of Pricing

The last time you used transit, what was the cost of your trip? Did you pay for a single ride? Maybe you’re a frequent customer and your transit agency offers a week or month pass to save you money. So why is there a predominant pricing model for bike-share in many parts of the world that either charges mere cents per trip for the most frequent users and upwards of $7 USD for a day pass for a tourist or infrequent customer for the single trip they want to take? Isn't there something in between that's more reasonable for everyone?

A common pricing model throughout much of the world is a "buffet model" where an annual membership is available for $60 - $85 USD or a day membership for $5 - $10 USD, with unlimited trips under 30 or 45 minutes for both and usage fees starting only after you’ve reached this time limit. Once you've paid the membership fee, you can ride as much as you want within the included time period for no extra fee. So a daily commuter who paid $75 USD for an annual membership who uses the system twice a day for every workday (260 days per year) pays $0.14 USD per trip. This is ridiculously low and likely even lower than the cost of owning a bike. Obviously there's history about why this came to be.

First generation bike-sharing (White Bike) and 2nd generation (City Bike) systems were low-tech and had no charge to use them. When 3rd generation (automated) bike-sharing came about, the first service was in Rennes, France in 1998, called Vélo à la Carte. The service was operated by Clear Channel Adshel – an outdoor advertising company. Vélo à la Carte had no membership or usage fees, but a 23 EUR ($30 USD) deposit. The first large 3rd generation system was then Vélo’v in Lyon, France in 2005 and was launched by JCDecaux, a competitor of Clear Channel's. They started with a €5 EUR ($6.50 USD) annual membership, which increased to €15 EUR ($19 USD) and now have an annual membership fee of 25 EUR ($33 USD) with the first 30 minutes of each trip at no extra charge. Thus the "buffet" pricing model was born with all you can eat, or ride, under 30 minutes once you pay your membership fee. In response to a Bike-sharing Blog inquiry, a representative from JCDecaux said that this pricing model was created to incentivize very short trips by bike. It has done this quite successfully. Paris, which is also operated by JCDecaux, followed suit in 2007 with the same pricing model.

Germany took a different route with Call a Bike using a "per minute" pricing model. With this model, the more one uses the service, the more one pays for their usage. This per minute model is in direct contrast to the buffet model where the service gets cheaper the more you use it. Call a Bike started off as a private company in Germany around 1998 and was eventually purchased by Deutsche Bahn, the German national rail company. They have stuck with the per minute model to date, except for Hamburg, Berlin, and Stuttgart which have the buffet model. Deutsche Bahn obviously had a different perspective on recovering the costs of their bike-share systems, coming from a transit background.

Third generation bike-sharing was finally brought to the New World in 2008 with SmartBike D.C. in Washington, D.C., USA and operated by the same company that did Rennes' service -- Clear Channel. It cost $40 USD per year with free trips under 2 hours. Then in 2009, Bixi launched in Montreal, Canada, however, it was not funded by an outdoor advertising company, but rather by a city agency -- Stationnement de Montréal. They chose to use the buffet model, which was now the prominent model, but had to raise the price to pay for the capital and operating costs of the system. So goodbye to the 29 EUR ($37 USD) annual membership of Vélib' and hello to the doubled $75 CAD ($68 USD) annual membership.

With more and more systems now being owned by municipalities and non-profits, it seems like we could have a tragedy of the commons with the overuse of this public good because the pricing model encourages overuse in the buffet model systems. I'm not suggesting that the buffet model is bad. Rather, it is a model that works for specific goals, such as incentivizing short trips by making it dirt cheap for frequent customers. It works best for municipalities that want to encourage the number of trips, jump start a bike culture, and where paying for the system can be supported in large part by an outdoor advertising contract. For systems that don't rely on this funding source, in order to fully cover operating costs, the per minute model better captures the value of the system for customers by making the heavy users of a system pay for their greater wear and tear on the system. This should also lower the cost for infrequent customers, likely encouraging them to use the system more. (I'm not an economist, but I play one on TV.)
Since 2009, almost every new system in North America, and a good deal of those in Europe, point to the other popular systems before them that use the buffet model and feel that they must as well. How could Lyon, Paris, Barcelona, D.C., Boston, and New York all be wrong?

It's time to innovate with pricing models to both encourage more trips by more people, remove the financial barrier that high-priced memberships have created for lower income customers, and better assist bike-share systems pay for themselves. Bike-share is transit, so it also needs to be priced like transit. There should be a single trip price that is equivalent, or slightly lower, than the price of a single trip on the local transit system. It's time to innovate!

photo credit: My Dog, Dinner

Thursday, September 11, 2014

North American Bike-share Association Conference

The North American Bike-share Association (NABSA) is a newly formed non-profit group created to share information and best practices for bike-share system owners, operators, and vendors. NABSA held its first large conference on September 7 - 8 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA with over 100 attendees from around the U.S. and Canada and as far as England and Germany. Bike-share equipment vendors such as PBSC Urban Solutions, 8D Technologies, Social Bicycles, Bewegentech, and nextbike were also present showing off their latest innovations.

The two packed days of break-out sessions included proposals for open data standards to align the output of data that systems produce for public consumption, creation of an International Bike-share Database with an agreed upon glossary of terms and metrics for a better apples-to-apples comparison of systems, and owners meeting with their sister municipalities and respective software/hardware vendors to discuss needed improvements as well as innovations on the horizon.

As a fledgling industry, NABSA is necessary to strengthen our knowledge of bike-sharing among owners and operators of a variety of backgrounds -- municipal, non-profit, and for-profit -- and learn from the successes and failures of other systems for the betterment of each system and the public they serve.

As the program manager for Arlington, Virginia, USA's portion of Capital Bikeshare, I can say it was truly valuable to be at the conference. While the focus of the group is North America, NABSA is open to all and if you're associated with a bike-share system, regardless of where it is in the world, I'd recommend checking out NABSA.net.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Bike-sharing World - Interview with Alain Ayotte

Recently, the Bike-sharing Blog had the opportunity to interview Alain Ayotte.

He is the past President and CEO of Public Bike System Company (PBSC) and one of the creators of the bIXI bike-share system in Montréal. He led the design and development of this first modular “drop in place” bike-sharing system deployed in Montréal in May 2009. Soon after, this award winning system was deployed in Melbourne, Australia; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pullman, Washington; London, England; Washington, DC; Toronto, Ontario; Ottawa, Ontario; Boston, Massachusetts; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Stony Brook, New York; New York City, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio and Aspen, Colorado.
In February 2013, he left PBSC Urban Solutions.

He can be considered one of the founding fathers of Bike-sharing in North America.

Bike-sharing Blog: So after you left PBSC what have you been doing?

 Alain Ayotte:  I needed some time off to reinvigorate myself and spend time with my family. Then I quickly realized that I wanted to continue to contribute to the urban mobility field. It is a field about which I am passionate and where we really can have an impact on people’s lives.  I could no longer do so in my previous role and that was the main reason which led to my departure.

At the end of 2013, I teamed up with great partners who all shared my vision of urban mobility: Michel Dallaire, the world renowned designer;  Procycle Group, bicycle manufacturers of Rocky Mountain, Miele, and eVox electric bikes, and BikeEmotion, a consortium of three companies and a university, to advance bike-sharing technology. We then created a new company called Bewegen Technologies (Bewegen). Our vision is to inject sustainability into the urban transportation mix. To achieve this goal, we created a shared-transportation solution. Think of it as bike-sharing plus

B-s B: Tell us what does Bewegen mean? From where does Bewegen come?

Ayotte:  As you can imagine, the naming of our company was one of the first tasks we tackled. Hours and hours of research and brainstorming went into finding our name. We wanted to pay tribute to the Netherlands as the pioneers of bike-sharing and of bicycle commuting. We decided on this unique name: Bewegen. Bewegen is simply the verb “to move’’ in Dutch and German. We integrated a lightning bolt into the word to make our logo and to link it with our product.

B-s B: Being an innovator in the bike-sharing industry, you helped create a solar powered bike sharing system with modular docking stations which can be picked up or put down in 20 minutes. This facilitated the ability of removing an entire system from the street during harsh winters and reduced the cost of installation for electrical hook up. This changed the way North American cities deployed bike-share which now has been copied throughout the world.

Innovations have been the hallmark of your work. So with your new system what innovations are you bringing to the world?

Ayotte: We developed a very flexible system in order to give people more freedom and complement the current available means of shared-transportation. With world-renowned partners and multi patent-pending innovations we bring cutting-edge elements such as: 
  • Pedelec (electric-assist) motor e-bikes, equipped with live GPS and semi-flat foot ergonomics, eliminating the need to tilt or dismount the bike while at rest
  • Virtual (non-physical) stations
  • Kiosk-less rentals (with kiosk available for information and casual membership access)
  • Vehicle driven technology
  • Fully integrated front and back office solutions
  • Mobile Phone Applications with full rental capabilities
  • Superb design for easy functionality

Here’s a sneak peak:

B-s B: When will we be able to see these Bewegen bikes and stations?

Ayotte: We will officially unveil our product in early September at Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place in Pittsburgh, PA. The Bewegen team and its partners will be happy to show and explain it to whoever will be present.  As far as full scale implementations, we will be ready to hit the streets of cities and towns in summer 2015.

You can also see the Bewegen experience on our website being launched in the next few days at

B-s B: We know that the future of bike-sharing is going toward “pedelecs” (pedal assisted electrically powered bicycles). Copenhagen, Denmark and Madrid, Spain started pedelec systems this year, Barcelona will add pedelecs to its fleet this December.  Rome just issued a tender offer for a pedelec system. Many Italian cities now have mixed bicycle –pedelec programs. Do you believe that pedelecs will ultimately replace or augment all current bike-share systems?

Ayotte: Conventional bike-sharing was good a start, but has many limitations. The modal share numbers speak for themselves. They limit the impact that bike-sharing can have on the urban transportation mix of a city. This also limits the pool of riders and the types of use they can get out every trip. I believe that shared pedelec (electric-assist) vehicles are truly the missing link in urban mobility and will soon become the norm.

B-s B: So tell us how do cities planning bike-share or cities with existing bike-share programs plug into this electrifying change for bike-share?

Ayotte: Our flexible technology allows us to integrate Bewegen into an existing system or have it available as a stand-alone system. However, every location has a specific reality and we do not want to generalize a procedure. We prefer to evaluate extensively each demand and adapt to each potential customer’s situation. With our partners, we can count on over 200 dedicated and experienced people to fulfill any demand. We are ready to serve and we’re only a click away at: www.bewegen.com


The first Annual Meeting of the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA) will be held in Pittsburgh, PA next month on September 7th and 8th. For more information: NABSA Annual Meeting

images: Bewegen Technologies

Russell Meddin            bikesharephiladelphia.org

Keep in touch with The Bike-sharing World with The Bike-sharing World Map. It is the premiere resource for information on cities with bike-sharing programs and the complement to The Bike-sharing Blog. The easy web address for viewing the map is www.bikesharingworld.com.

Follow the Map on Twitter@BikesharingMap

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Bike-sharing World - First Week of August 2014


The Bike-sharing World Mapbikesharingworld.com, has surpassed 5,000,000 page views since October 2007. It is the #1 resource for information on cities with bike-sharing systems world wide. It is a catalog of operating, planned and terminated bike-sharing programs on all the continents. With constant updates, the Map is the best way to keep up with the ever changing bike-sharing world.

The five millionth bike-share viewer studied the map on July 30, 2014

Follow the Map on Twittertwitter.com/BikesharingMap

See the O'Brien Global Bike Share Map. It shows real time bike usage in over 110 cities!


Reports out of Beijing indicate that the municipal bike-sharing program, Public Bicycle In Beijing, is about to become the largest system of any Capital City throughout the world. Albeit, the largest Chinese program remains the one in the City of Hangzhou with over 78,000 bikes. Before the end of this year, when the area of Beijing within its Ring Roads reaches 24,000 bikes, it will surpass Paris as the Capital City with the largest bike-sharing program. As of today, if all the outlying districts that are under the control of the Beijing Program, though not contiguous to the capital, were counted, the current total would be 27,000 bikes and Beijing would now hold the title according to NETEase News.


It has been a slow growth year for bike-sharing in North America. Leading up to 2014, it was shaping up to be a banner year of great growth with numerous cities expected to launch new systems either this Spring or Summer. Yet instead of the promised launches, there have been numerous delays. The cold Canadian troubles coupled with a cold and prolonged winter has been a part of it, but financing of programs has had the major role in this year's performance remaining in a low gear.
North American cities need to have State and Federal governments start thinking of bike-sharing as public transit and make available the funding streams that help other forms of public transit flourish.

images: Beijing

Russell Meddin            bikesharephiladelphia.org

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Bike-sharing World - Middle of July 2014

After a few sparks in cities around Europe,

Bike-sharing Explodes!

It happened seven years ago this week in Paris.

Happy Anniversary Vélib'


image: Vélib'

Russell Meddin            bikesharephiladelphia.org

Keep in touch with The Bike-sharing World with The Bike-sharing World Map. It is the premiere resource for information on cities with bike-sharing programs and the complement to The Bike-sharing Blog. The easy web address for viewing the map is www.bikesharingworld.com.

Follow the Map on Twitter@BikesharingMap

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Bike-sharing World - First Week of June 2014

       Washington, DC

It's not too late to register to take part in the conversations on how Public Policy and government regulations will affect bike-sharing for 2014. Help craft the direction of Public Policy for bike-sharing next week in the Capital City of the USA. See you in DC!

Bemidji, Minnesota:
Nice Ride Minnesota bike-sharing is going into the bike rental business in an upstate Minnesota summer resort town. Bemidji Nice Ride will begin renting bicycles out of four manned locations in the middle of June. There will not be self-service kiosks available as with the Nice Ride program in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Bycyklen gobike Station - More Photos
After being one of the first cities to introduce 2nd generation bike-sharing in 1995, with Bycyklen, those odd looking, grocery trolley tethered bicycles, Copenhagen in now offering something close to 4th generation bike-sharing with an odd looking, computer tablet controlled, electric assist - pedelec- called the new Bycyklen for 2014. 
Although already on the streets during testing for a few months, the new program was only opened to public use this April. There has not been the fanfare of an official launch as of yet. Currently though, there are 250 gobikes in 10 stations. From the original plan, the program is scheduled to grow to around 1,250 gobikes in 65 stations.
The price for casual use is 25kr (US$4.50) per hour. With the monthly subscription of 70kr (US$12.75), plus an hourly usage of only 6kr (US$1.00). There are incentives and penalties for picking up or returning the gobikes away from the designated stations. The bikes are a bit heavy, but a cool ride.

Hangzhou, China -So many bikes outside the bike station
Reports out of China indicate the Hangzhou now has 78,000 bicycles in its bike-share fleet. According to HangzhouTravel.com, there has been a jump of 10% in daily usage of the program. Nearly 2,000 bicycles need maintenance daily. There are many cities throughout the world that would love to have a fleet of that size! Over 3,000 bikes each month need to be completely overhauled. New maintenance procedures has brought the fleet up to a level of 97% of bicycles with a rating of road worthiness.

From the Haksong Evening News, is a report that the Xin Feida bike-share program in Wuhan has not been keeping up with its fleet and stations. The news agency reports that there are many stations void of bicycles and that the 300 million yuan (US$48,000,000) investment for the program hasn't fulfilled all of its promises. Hangzhou, China has a truer count on its bike share fleet and now is considered the largest program in the world.


Recent internet stories from a policy institute on the state of world bike-sharing in a "2014 Bicycle Share Fact Sheet"  have been lacking in accuracy.  
Since January there are over 700 cities in the world with active automated bike-share programs. Italy is overtaking Spain as the country with the most bike-share cities and China, now in third place, has overtaken Germany.
For a better survey of the bike-sharing world, The Bike-sharing World Map keeps in its legend a running total of the number of cities with automated bike-sharing.

images: The Bike-sharing Blog

Russell Meddin            bikesharephiladelphia.org

Keep in touch with The Bike-sharing World with The Bike-sharing World Map. It is the premiere resource for information on cities with bike-sharing programs and the complement to The Bike-sharing Blog. The easy web address for viewing the map is www.bikesharingworld.com.

Follow the Map on Twitter@BikesharingMap

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Bike-sharing World - Last Week of April 2014


         Very sad news
Montréal Bix fatal crash Monday, April 28, 2014

The first bike share fatality in North America occurred early this morning in Montréal, Canada. According to La Presse, the 33 year old woman was struck by a truck. 

We at The Bike-sharing Blog are extremely saddened by this event. We hope all of our readers remember this woman and particularly if you participate in this year's world-wide Ride of Silence on May 21, 2014.

Bike-share's safety record far exceeds that of cycling in general. With close to 15,000,000 bike-share usages since bike-share began in North America, we reflect on this sad event.

update: The police report that the woman was wearing a bicycle helmet.

image: La Presse

Russell Meddin            bikesharephiladelphia.org

Keep in touch with The Bike-sharing World with The Bike-sharing World Map. It is the premiere resource for information on cities with bike-sharing and complement to The Bike-sharing Blog. The easy web address for viewing the map is www.bikesharingworld.com.

Follow the Map on Twitter@BikesharingMap