Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year-end Wrap-up

This year has been another fantastic year for bike-sharing around the world. In my most unscientific calculation I have counted there to be about 238 bike-sharing services around the world, up from about 160 last year, for a 49% increase. On top of this, there are another 53 services that are in planning stages and may come online soon.

Many notable things happened this year in the field that have pushed the boundaries of bike-sharing and transit. And it’s great timing too as global climate change doesn’t seem to want to let the world catch up. These improvements include:

Vcub(e) (Bordeaux, France) pushed the edges of 3rd generation bike-sharing by integrating with the region’s other transit systems such that the same RFID card could be used on any transit system.

Mexico City repealed its bike helmet law before the launch of Ecobici, however, Melbourne did not, which has limited the public’s uptake. Although, Melbourne Bike Share is experimenting with helmet vending machines and helmet sales at convenience stores for which we wish them good luck.

India and Iran got into the bike-sharing game with Bike House and FreMo, respectively, operating modified 2nd generation services. Good for them. This proves there’s no one right answer for each challenge.

Dublinbikes (Dublin, Ireland) is a little service that became so widely used with a whopping 10 trips per bike per day and 100 members per bike. “By comparison Paris has around 8 per bike and Washington, DC around 5 subscribers per bike.”


Barclays Cycle Hire (London, England) launched earlier this year with great fanfare as Barclays provided £25 million to sponsor the service, lending its name and covering the city with 6,000 blue bikes. Their safety and usage videos are to date the best I’ve seen yet. Maybe their next video will have Prince William and Kate narrating.

Velib’ (Paris, France) turned 3 years old this year and hit its 80,000,000th trip. I remember the good old days when it had hit its 1,000,000th trip. Ahhh, memories.

The first large-scale bike-sharing services in the U.S. with the launches of Nice Ride Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA), Denver B-cycle (Denver, Colorado, USA), and Capital Bikeshare (Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, USA). Each trying to out-do the other, the each launched a couple of months from each other with more bikes and stations.

Capital Bikeshare

As you can see, it’s been quite a busy year in the bike-sharing world. Here at The Bike-sharing Blog we had about 80,000 visitors this year and The Bike-sharing World Map has had over 760,000 views since its inception over three years ago. At nearly 300 listings of services which are either running or on their way, the Bike-sharing World Map has gotten a little wieldy as we’re pushing the edges of what a Google Map can do.

We at MetroBike, LLC have had a good year ourselves with the work we’ve accomplished and the many projects were working on. The movement to get people riding is just beginning to roll. There’s still so much to do to change the path the world has been heading down. Bike-sharing, along with many other innovative, green ideas, will be the change the world must see to improve ourselves.

The Bike-sharing Blog co-authors, Russell Meddin of Bike Share Philadelphia and I, wish you a happy and healthy 2011 with lots of bike-sharing. We look forward to the upcoming year and all the exciting things we have yet to learn, experience, and share on The Bike-sharing Blog. We’ll keep you posted, so you keep us posted too about what’s going on in your part of the world.

Best wishes,

Paul DeMaio

Paul DeMaio, MetroBike, LLC

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Boris' Gift to Santa(s)

Taking a brief break to get some exercise before his long flight to deliver gifts, Santa, or make that Santas, borrow "Boris Bikes" in London for some jovial riding around town.

Warning: As this video depicts more than one Santa, it should not be viewed by children younger than 12.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dublin City Council Approves Tenfold Expansion of Bike-sharing

The City Council of Dublin, Ireland yesterday approved a tenfold expansion of the Dublin bike-sharing program from 500 to 5,000 bikes, according to the Irishtimes. The wildly successful Dublinbikes is one of the most popular bike-sharing systems in Europe. Many of the current 450 bikes are being used around 10 times a day.
The approval foresees the expansion over five years. The number of bike stations will grow from today's 40 to nearly 300. The JCDecaux system in operation since September 2009, has signed up more than 47,000 subscribers. That is over 100 subscribers per bike. By comparison Paris has around 8 per bike and Washington, DC around 5 subscribers per bike. For many of those Dublinbikers, even with the snow, 5 years can't come soon enough!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Step Right Up and Hire a Boris Bike

This morning, after four months of operation for locals, London’s extremely successful Barclays Cycle Hire will be open to users from all around the world. On December 3rd Transport for London (TfL) starts allowing non-United Kingdom residents to hire a "Boris Bikes." A casual user, anyone over 14 years of age, with a Visa or Master Card (American Express need not apply) can now walk up to the kiosk at any station to get a bike. Yes, even Master Cards and Visas issued in the USA will work!

There are easy to follow the instructions available in multiple languages on a large video screen at the kiosk.
Pay the £1 fee for 24-hour access with your credit card. Like the similar systems in Montréal, Minneapolis, Melbourne, and Washington, the terminal prints out, on paper, a cycle release code for each cycle. A new release code is needed every time you take out a bike; the system remembers the credit card and at no extra charge within 24 hours issues the new release code for each time. Make sure that your cycle is roadworthy, a seat turned around, is the universal bike-share signal that there is a problem! Compose the cycle release code at the docking point. The light will turn amber while your code is verified, then wait for the green light and then pull out your cycle. Like most systems the first thirty minutes are free, then the next 30 minutes is £1, then the price really escalates. Do not keep it too long because two hours will cost £6 and three hours £15. So make those rides short.

If you come to a station that is full and you can’t return the bike. Use the kiosk to locate the nearest empty docking point and get an extra 15 minutes for free to find it. Although there isn’t a location map on the screen yet, there are good maps on each kiosk. The station location map is on-line here and there are various smart phone applications. On a nice day, many of the 6,000 bikes are in use, especially during rush hour. In the morning they are hard to find near the railways stations and at night those stations are full! TfL is building a 124-docking point station at the Waterloo Railway Station to keep up with the demand which could be the largest station in the world. Because of the success of the system, over 1.8 million usages in 4 months, there are plans, announced in November, to expand the system into the eastern part of the city with another 2,000 bikes by 2012.

According to James Mead, Barclays Cycle Hire Operations Manager, there are over 100,000 UK residents subscribing to the system with RFID “keys” which allows access to the bikes. Around 35% of these are annual members and 60% are daily members. The rest are weekly. He expects these new "casual users" to make up around 10% of the total ridership. Currently, there are around 20,000 trips every weekday made on the Boris Bikes and 10,000 on the weekend days. With these usage numbers and such successful public acceptance of the program, analysts are projecting it is on course to become the only TfL system to make an operating profit, according to the newspaper, The Guardian.

Enjoy your ride in London! By the way you do not need to bank at Barclays to use the Boris Bikes.

Keep in mind that in London you ride a bike on the left! Try to use the green bike lanes or the blue "Barclays Cycle Super Highways" lanes as a reminder on which side of the road to ride. Don't forget, the front brake is on the right and the rear on the left!

Update: According to the Evening Standard, the first day of "casual use" of Barclays Cycle Hire was fraught with computer glitches and bad weather. Many kiosk crashed when implementing the added service. It was necessary for technicians to correct the problems on site by rebooting approximate 100 kiosk of the effected stations. It is operational now.

images: The Bike-sharing Blog

Russell Meddin

Monday, November 29, 2010

Velib' Accessorizes for the Holidays

Cyber Monday, the day we pause and give thanks to shopping on the Internet, is here and Velib' is ready to assist you with your gift purchasing needs with a great expansion cycling accessories on its online store. They have a wide variety of goods, including shopping bags of various colors, helmets with a flashing rear light, reflective pant clips, ponchos, locks, and urban chic cycling gloves.

Be the envy of your friends with a tre' cool "Couvre-selle gel avec revêtement imperméable", or "gel seat" in English, which fits over the regular seat for more cushion and to keep your butt dry. Your butt will be glad you did.

Bixi also has a discounted membership for the holiday season.

image credit: Bike Original

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New York City Request Proposals for 10,000-Bike Service

This morning the New York City Department of Transportation issued its long awaited Request for Proposal for a mega bike-sharing system. The request asks for bike-share operators to use the New York Planning Commission feasibility study, Bike-share Opportunities in New York City, as a guide to plan a program. The study suggests that the system start with 10,000 bikes and 600 stations. It should be multi-borough, but begin in the Manhattan Central Business District and expand into other boroughs of the City.

Although the request only calls for a five year initial contract, the system could grow to rival the size of the Hangzhou, China's
Public Bicycle Service mega system of 50,000 bikes (see The Bike-sharing Blog July 2009 for more info). If all goes well without any flat tires or broken spokes in negotiations, we could be using one of the great bike-share systems in one of the greatest cities of the world by maybe this time next year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nice Ride Minnesota Survey Results

Nice Ride's survey results were released today and the numbers are impressive. According to Nice Ride, there were 100,817 total trips taken within the first season's five months of operating. These trips were taken by 1,295 1-year members, 89 30-day members, and 29,077 taste-testers, or 24-hr members.

Regarding theft and vandalism, it's clear that Minnesotans and Minneapolis' visitors are honest and good riders and drivers. There were only two bikes lost and three incidents of vandalism causing damage greater than $100. Take THAT, Paris with its horrendous theft and vandalism record! (I'm only kidding, j'aime Paris.) Also, there were no reports of injury and only one reported crash.

The survey (found here) covers 1-year and 30-day members and was sent out to about 1,300 addresses of which about 680 responded. There's tons of good data in there, however, what drew my interest was the following question:

"Please recall the most recent trip you took using a Nice Ride bicycle. If you had not used a Nice Ride bicycle, how would you have otherwise made this trip"

Value Count Percent %
I would have walked 258 37.9%
I would have taken public transit (bus or light rail) 138 20.3%
I would have taken a taxi 18 2.6%
I would have driven a car 132 19.4%
I would have gotten a ride in someone's car 5 0.7%
I would have used my personal bicycle 56 8.2%
I would not have taken the trip 62 9.1%
Other (please specify) 12 1.8%

Nearly 20% would have driven. That's outstanding and is quite higher than other cities' mode shift percentages from bike-sharing, which includes Lyon, France with only about 4% shifting away from driving, according to the NICHES publication on bike-sharing. Not too shabby. The survey should be very helpful to jurisdictions around the world who don't have bike-sharing yet get funding for such services as they really do work.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nice Ride Sprints to End of Season

In less than an hour from now, Nice Ride Minnesota, the U.S.'s second largest, and second chronologically, will be hibernating for the winter. With high temperatures this week in the mid-60s F, it's almost balmy in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, however, lows are predicted to be below freezing this weekend with snow showers.

It has been a good first season, reports Bill Dossett, Executive Director of Nice Ride, with about 100,000 trips made since the their launch nearly five months ago on June 10. With Nice Ride analyzing its first season presently with a survey, the responses and data are to be available soon. Stay tuned to The Bike-sharing Blog as this becomes available.

image credit: Just BARE

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Toronto closer to being the 2nd major Canadian City with Bike-sharing

Last night, Autoshare Car-sharing brought Toronto, Canada closer to Bixi Bike-sharing by buying 100 yearly subscriptions to fulfill one of the city government's requirement that 1000 pre-subscribers sign up before proceeding with a bike-sharing program for May 2011. The Toronto plan is to start with 1000 bikes and 80 stations within the Central Business District. Now only another $150,000 CDN ($145,500 US) in yearly sponsorships for each of the next three years must be secured on top of the generous ING three year commitment to fulfill the last requirement before the program can begin.
It will be good to see bike-sharing once more in Toronto!

image: Toronto Bixi

Russell Meddin

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Melbourne gets on top of its slow moving bike-sharing

Hats off to Melbourne Bike Share for adding a new dimension to self -service bike-sharing with self-service bike helmet machines. Since it started in June of this year, Melbourne Bike Share has not been as successful as other bike-sharing programs of comparable size, like Denver, Colorado or Dublin, Ireland. Many attributed the slow growth of this system to Australia’s mandatory helmet laws. With these vending machines, it is now easier to use the program without facing a $150 AU ($150 US) fine if you ride without a helmet. In addition, the 24 hour-a-day system has a new agreement with 7-Elevens in Melbourne to sell helmets to users for $5. According the Victorian Government, the helmets can be recycled to the store for $3 cash back. It is hoped that easy accessibility of helmets will encourage greater use of the system.

In other Australian helmet news, there is strong movement to exempt mandatory helmet use for certain types of riding. Over the summer, Sue Abbott won her case in an Australian court not to have to wear a helmet to do her errands in New South Wales. According to bikerumor this could be the start of a “U turn in the Australian helmet law." This would make spontaneous bike-sharing even easier. More Australian news on The Bike-sharing Blog to come.

image: Alta Bicycle Share

Russell Meddin

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where's My Villo?

A group of Brussels residents had concerns about the quality of service that JCDecaux was providing in their town... so they did something about it. On September 6 the group created Where's My Villo? -- Villo! being the name of their bike-sharing service which launched in May 2009 -- to track certain performance measures, including the availability of bikes and parking spaces. The data they use to track performance is that from JCDecaux's Villo! website.

In addition to improving the reliability of the service, Where's My Villo? also asks for JCDecaux "to commit to transparent and easily verifiable service levels" with no station remaining "empty or completely full for more than 60 consecutive minutes." Finally, the team asks for a users' group to assist JCDecaux in evaluating the Villo! service.

Hopefully this will lead to a better service for Brussels. It also can be a learning tool for advocates around the world to assist in pressuring service providers for a better service in their own communities. Soon, maybe Where's My Villo? will no longer need to ask this question as they'll have finally found it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Budapest's BuBi

Péter from Budapest informs me that Budapest has recently announced the name of its bike-sharing service, set to launch in 2011. The default name of the system had been "KKKR", the Hungarian acronym for Bicycle Public Transport System. The name will be "BuBi", which was selected by a public poll. (That's a much better name. I couldn't imagine asking, "Honey, shall we take the KKKR out to dinner tonight?)

According to the Hungarian News Agency/Greenfo, "The new system will include 1000-1100 bicycles and 70-80 docking stations. It will cover the most densely build-up central part of the city of about 7 square kilometers. The cost of the system is HUF 1.32 billion (EUR 5 million). The system will be installed and managed by Parking Ltd. - a public company in charge of inforcing [sic] of the city's parking policy."

BuBi's beta testing is reported to begin in June 2011 and will be funded in part with European Union funds.

image credit: The Dentist

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Switzerland's National Advancement

I had heard of a Spanish effort, either at the regional or national level, to promote bike-sharing that occurred in November 2007. It was a conference solely about bike-sharing. I would have loved to have been there to learn about Spain's advancement of bike-sharing. The country is at or near the top of the list for the sheer number of services it offers, so there's a lot of knowledge individuals there can share.

A new conference was held on September 10 in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland called Koordination Bikesharing Schweiz/Coordination Bikesharing Suisse (Swiss Bike-sharing Coordination). According to their website, the organization's purpose is for "The coordination of bike sharing [to] provide an exchange platform around this new bike phenomenon". Switzerland has 30 bike-sharing services using three systems (nextbike, velopass, and Bieler System) in the central and western part of the country (see p.3 of their newsletter).

For more information, check them out. It's great they're being proactive like this. Others countries, including mine(!), should take note.

p.s. - Here's their agenda and newsletter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Capital Bikeshare - a long road to success

With the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, it’s a day for those of us who worked so hard for so long to celebrate. So much blood, sweat, and tears were put into getting where we are today. Well, there wasn’t any blood, but the sweat and tears will more than make up for this. So many great people worked on putting together Capital Bikeshare and I’m happy MetroBike was able to make this happen for Arlington County and to work with so many great partners, including the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, graphic designers, sponsors, the public, and so many more. It’s also a day for Washingtonians to celebrate. Now a great new way to get around is available. It will help clean our air, lessen traffic congestion, and get folks fit.

It’s so wonderful to see a dream come true. I first learned about bike-sharing in 1995 as a student at the University of Virginia. I was working the graveyard shift as a computer consultant at a computer lab, surfing the Web to pass time until my shift ended at 11pm. It was there that I saw a webpage with two photos of Copenhagen’s Bycyklen, or “City Bikes”, on the screen. The website was very bare -- white background, a couple of paragraphs in English, and those two photos. That was all it took. I found myself studying abroad in Copenhagen the following semester learning more about their 2nd generation coin-operated system. It was the first large deployment of bike-sharing anywhere in the world. Amsterdam had dabbled in bike-sharing twenty years earlier with a 1st generation service where bikes were simply left on the street for the public’s use.

Arlington County Board chair, Jay Fisette, speaking at the launch

During my research I kept thinking to myself, “this idea is a win-win -- great for the environment, public health, and in getting folks on bikes. Why hadn’t bike-sharing taken off elsewhere around the world?” When I returned to the U.S., I advocated for bike-sharing, mainly through academic research for my Masters degree, writing some of the very first published articles on the topic. Eventually, just writing about bike-sharing was no longer enough for me. I needed to get my feet wet and begin being more proactive about it. “Be the change you wish to see,” was what Gandhi said, which I took to heart in 2004 when I founded MetroBike, LLC for the purpose of bringing bike-sharing to the U.S. Cycling in the U.S. is only about 1% of all trips in car-dominated America, but why not think big, right? I started The Bike-sharing Blog and The Bike-sharing World Map to continue to educate a wider auidence about the topic and began picking up clients from around the world who heard about bike-sharing and wanted to make it happen in their part of the world.

Paul DeMaio, MetroBike, LLC

When I started the Blog in May 2007, just before Velib’ launched in Paris, there were about 17 bike-sharing services worldwide. Now in 2010 there are about 200. Make that 201 today with Capital Bikeshare! While I’d like to say that The Bike-sharing Blog helped add those 183 new services, I think Paris may have played a slightly larger role with their mega service of over 20,000 bikes. Thank you Paris.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same could be said about starting a bike-sharing service. So many people positively shaped this weird idea of renting bikes for a short period of time to take this idea from Amsterdam to Copenhagen and now to Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA. I guess dreams do come true.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Capital Bikeshare Set to Launch 9/20

You may have noticed that coverage of the launch of Capital Bikeshare has been a bit heavy on The Bike-sharing Blog. My company, MetroBike, LLC, is involved with this new service which will be the largest as well as only year-round and regional program in the U.S., so I've been sharing all the exciting lead up to the launch. I also plan to share data from this service with Bike-sharing Blog readers as it's available.

With the launch of Capital Bikeshare just a few days away, the details are now set and you're invited!

Date: Monday, September 20, 2010

Time: 10:30 AM

Location: Tingey Plaza, located behind the U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, D.C. (USA)

Speakers will include D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, and likely some yet-to-be-confirmed Federal representatives as well. Did someone say Obama? We didn't invite him as he probably has other things to do (like run the country), but with The White House only about 2 miles away, I think we could add the President to the agenda if he were to show.

After the event, we'll be getting into groups of 5 - 7 Capital Bikeshare members and riding to selected stations to begin populating them with bikes and get back to the office. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Capital Bikeshare Stations Installed

The first two Capital Bikeshare stations were installed today in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. The remainder of Arlington's 14 stations will be installed over the next three weeks, along with DC's 100 stations.

The installation was seamless with a boom truck arriving to unload the 19-dock station across the street from the Crystal City Metrorail station. Each modular unit was unloaded by the boom operator, while staff shuffled the units into place on the sidewalk. The units were then pushed together and wiring was finished, along with placing the solar panel on top.

Lots of passersby stopped to ask what was going on. Is it a big bike rack? Where are the bikes? How do I join?

Staff in neighboring buildings, people on their way to lunch, and students on their way to class stopped by. Many shared their love of cycling and look forward to using Capital Bikeshare once it's running in late September.

All in all, it was a good day, but hot. It was a Code Red day due to the poor air quality. It's ironic because bike-sharing is one of the tools in the toolbox that will combat climate change in the D.C. region and improve air quality.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This past Friday, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) submitted a request for $12M USD to the U.S. Department of Transportation's TIGER II discretionary grant program for an expansion of the upcoming Capital Bikeshare service. If won, the funding would provide an 80%/20% (Federal/local) match for an expansion of the service within Arlington and D.C., as well as bringing in four adjacent jurisdictions and a large state university into the program.

Capital Bikeshare will launch in September with 1,110 bikes at 114 stations. With TIGER II funding, the service would quickly expand to 3,578 bikes at 431 stations -- a substantial increase -- as early as next spring, making it nearly as large as Montreal's Bixi.

MWCOG's application and cost-benefit analysis can be found online for other regions to benefit from. While MWCOG was putting together this grant application with the assistance of the jurisdictions, it was great to see the region coming together over bike-sharing and bicycling. With many other transport needs, the region chose this project as being our collective future. Now that's exciting.

The TIGER II grant application is a follow-up to the region's TIGER I grant application last year which was unsuccessful at securing funding due to the high demand of projects for the amount of available funding. Hopefully, this time the application will meet with better luck. It does help to include in your grant application a photo of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, giving a thumbs up on one of your demo bikes, like the photo above.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Capital Bikeshare Website is Live

Capital Bikeshare -- Arlington, VA and Washington, DC's upcoming bike-sharing service -- launched its website on August 11 at Memberships are going like hot cakes with over 600 memberships being sold within the first five days of availability.

Membership registration is now available with the first 2,000 month or annual members getting a Founder's Key and Capital Bikeshare t-shirt. Annual membership costs $75 -- with a discounted price of $50 for the time being -- month membership is $25, and day membership for $5, tax included.

With the launch date likely in late September, activity is fast and furious to get everything ready in time. The equipment is arriving at the contractor's warehouse, barriers are being constructed at on-street locations, information panels are being finalized and printed, a demo station and bikes are being showcased at various events around town, and installation in Arlington is to begin next week! I'll be there to record and share here.

It's time to remember what Arlington and D.C. are like now because when CaBi arrives, the urban core of this region will be changed. A new momentum will be in place.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Barclays Cycle Hire - London is Banking on it

This morning at 6 AM, Big Ben, the clock tower over Parliament, chimed the news that London joins other European capitals in the bike-sharing revolution with the introduction of Barclays Cycle Hire. London Mayor Boris Johnson is following the same path as Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë did 3 years ago this month by bringing bike-sharing to his city’s citizens. Although London’s Barclays Cycle Hire is one quarter the size of Paris’ Vélib’, it will be just as transformative.

Following the same formula as most bike-sharing systems, one can subscribe for one day at £1 ($1.55 US), one week at £5 ($7.80 US) or one year at £45 ($70 US). The first 30 minutes are free and then the next 30 minutes of use is £1, and after that the price for keeping the bike escalates very steeply. The cost of the Cycle Hire member “key”, the RFID access card, is £3 ($4.70 US).

For the first month, the system will be open only to members who register online for any level of subscription. To date, about 10,500 people have registered to become "pioneer" members of the scheme. The bikes will not be available for walk-up “casual use” to non-members during this breaking-in period. SERCO, the operator, and Transport for London (TfL) want the bikes to be the very best system possible and to understand how members engage with the scheme. So don’t rush to London and expect to whip out your Barclaycard, Visa, or Master Card at a station and try to grab a bike just yet.

When fitted out, Barclays Cycle Hire will have 6,000 bikes and 400 stations all over central London. Only around 4,800 bikes and 330 stations will available at first (see the map below). The bikes will not have auxiliary locks, so they will need to be re-docked for safe keeping. With the docking stations fairly close to each other, this should not present difficulties. We all know bike-sharing is for short trips anyway!

To help keep trips short, London has just opened up new bike lanes called Barclays Cycle Superhighways to get into and through central London a bit easier and faster. To reduce auto traffic, London’s City Hall sees these new bicycle amenities as a start of many initiatives it can really bank on as is evident by the £25 million (over $39 million US) sponsorship for the bike-sharing and the new bike lanes from Barclays Bank.

The Cycle Hire bike is similar to the Vélib’ of Paris in size and weight. The bikes are made in Quebec, Canada by Divinci and supplied to London by Public Bike System Company. These same bikes are in service in Montréal, Bixi – BicycleTaxi, Minneapolis, Minnesota - NiceRide, and in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA - Capital Bikeshare in September. The bikes should be sturdy enough for London traffic.

From now on, the streets of London will flow with a new transportation icon: the bike in blue, black, and gray; its place secure with the double decker red bus and the ubiquitous black taxi.

More related London Cycle Hire posts in The Bike-sharing Blog: Banking on Bike Sharing - May 28, 2010, London calling - August 12, 2009, London shifts into high gear - April 30, 2009, Lock up or lock out - April 8, 2009

images: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Russell Meddin

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Germany's Ruhr Valley Rolling with Metroradruhr

This summer brings a new regional bike-sharing system, Metroradruhr, to ten industrial Ruhr valley cities. Starting on June 18th in Dortmund, Germany the system has now reached five of the cities. Bikes are now or soon will be available in Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg (site of this week's horrific music festival stampede), Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Oberhausen. This is not just a series of suburban satellite additions to a larger city system, but a single system connecting nearby cities together. The most similar operation is Italy's Bicincittà, but the cities and stations of Metroradruhr are close enough together to allow bikes to move between cities.

Metroraruhr operates using the neXt bike telephone rental system. As with neXt bike, Metroraruhr has the convenience of reserving bikes for large groups in advance. Registration is required to use the system, but there are no subscriptions. The price is €1 per hour ($1.30 US) for any bike or according to which bike is chosen, starting from €5 per 24 hours ($6.50 US).

Linking an area together with a single bike-sharing system has incredible convenience for the users and strengthens a region's public transit options.

As we all know, Bike-sharing in Germany is really Rad-verleihsystem!

Friday, July 23, 2010

First Photos of Capital Bikeshare

The first photos of Capital Bikeshare are in! The prototype bikes look great. Branded to match the D.C. Circulator bus, Capital Bikeshare bikes are red with the Capital Bikeshare logo in yellow on the downtube.

Similar to other bikes in the Bixi Community, your bikes have flashing front and rear LED lights, reflective sidewall tires, adjustable seat post with marked numbers (to help you remember your seat height), and a carrier with bungee cord on the front.

The rear fenders are to be available for a service sponsor of Arlington's 110-bike/14-station portion of Capital Bikeshare, similar to Nice Ride Minnesota's sponsorship by BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota (below). (Prospective sponsors can email me for sponsorship info.)

The launch of Capital Bikeshare is right around the corner in September. The actual launch date is still to be determined. Capital Bikeshare will change Arlington and D.C. forever.

Cross-posted at The CommuterPageBlog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Capital Bikeshare - D.C. Stations Announced

With Arlington's stations announced in July 7's post "Capital Bikeshare Readying to Ride", Washington's D.C.'s stations were announced today, thereby fleshing out the initial 114 stations of the Capital Bikeshare network. On the District of Columbia's Department of Transportation website, a map of D.C.'s 100 stations is provided covering all eight wards of the city. Downtown is densely covered with stations every couple of blocks with inner neighborhoods also well covered. More distant neighborhoods will have to wait until the service gets more funding, so that D.C.'s network isn't stretched too thin at the launch.

I'm also happy to report that there is a station two blocks from my home. This truly brings a tear to my eye. I lobbied for a station closer to my home, however, didn't want folks entering my living room at all hours of the day and night.

In other news, our temporary website is now live. Visit us and leave your email address so we can tell you when registration opens - likely in early August.

Stay tuned... Lots more good stuff happening with Capital Bikeshare!

UPDATE (7/20, 3pm): DDOT will be making live a revised station map later today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vélib's 3rd Birthday rolls in with 80 million trips

Three years ago today, the bike-sharing world woke up to a revolution in Paris, France. Although, not the first service in the world, Vélib' was definitely the biggest. It made such a media splash, the entire world started thinking "bike-sharing."

In three years, 80 million trips have been made on these ubiquitous gray bicycles. The system has grown from around 10,000 bikes at 750 stations to 25,000 bikes at 1,800 stations which service all of Paris and its first ring of suburbs. There are 162,000 yearly subscribers to the system, down from a high of 200,000, but subscriber's usage is up over 11% according to
Ville Rail & Transport.

There have been growing pains for the system with some maintenance and shrinkage problems. It is no longer the biggest system in the world, that honor goes to the one in
Hangzhou, China which has 50,000 bikes. Yet the system is healthy and brings in money to the operator, JCDecaux, and the City of Paris.

The latest statistic show that it is used by everyone from all walks of life: 48% are women and 52% are men, 16% are under the age of 25 and 8% are over the age of 56, and 10% of all users are students. There are rumors of a 30% price increase for the daily and weekly subscriptions this fall, but the price of the yearly subscription is to remain a reasonable €29 ($36.85 US).

Let's celebrate bike-sharing by watching this video on how Vélib' began:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Bike-sharing Blog's New Look

We're updating the design of The Bike-sharing Blog to make it look better and be easier to use. Let us know what you think!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Feds Fund Bean Town Bike-share

Yesterday the United States Federal Transit Administration awarded a $3 million grant to the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) to fund the Boston Bike-share Project: "An innovative and truly transformational project, the Regional Bike Share System is a multiple-city bike sharing system making thousands of bicycles available throughout the Boston metropolitan area with the swipe of a card."

According to the
Boston Globe, Nicole Freedman, the head of the city's Boston Bikes program, said, "This takes us over one of the main hurdles with bike share, which is having enough funding to have a launch size that we’re confident will succeed. Too few bikes and rental stations could doom the program to irrelevancy." This money will allow Boston to proceed, after this year's postponement due to insufficient funding, to create the large bike-sharing program that we reported in The Bike-sharing Blog on August 12, 2009.

Much credit goes to Boston Bikes and the MBTA for creative thinking about Bike-sharing funding for systems in the United States. This grant to Boston reinforces what The Bike-sharing Blog has championed: Public Use Bicycles are an integral part of a city's public transit system. It extends, compliments and enhances all transportation options. That sound of a Boston Bike-share bell '
bing' should be a wake up call to the many city governments in United States, which are thinking about Bike-sharing. The Federal Government thinks it's a good idea.