Thursday, May 17, 2012

NYC Bike experiment

After spending millions and aggravating thousands of people creating a network of bicycle lanes in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg announced the unveiling of its own bicycle share program. This third generation program strives to avoid the pitfalls of previous cities' experiments and move NYC into the future of green transportation.

According to this post within Wikipedia, there are over 300 of these bike share programs worldwide and they have gone through three generations.
  1. Free bikes are painted a distinctive color and distributed unlocked for anyone's use. (These programs invariably fail due to theft and vandalism)
  2. A small deposit is paid for the use of the bikes at stations. (Since the deposit is small compared to the value of the bike, these bikes usually fall prey to theft)
  3. The third generation uses credit card deposits, membership within the program and credit card withdrawals that pay for lost or damaged bikes
The NYC plan is sponsored by Citibank who, in exchange for advertising on the bikes, kiosks and elsewhere in the city, will pay for the bikes and kiosks and setting things up. This ambitious project will have 600 stations boasting 10,000 bikes, making it the biggest program in the US. Click on this interactive map to see the proposed stations for the first phase.

The locations were picked in concert with the public.

The system is administered by Alta which runs the Capitol Bike program in Washington DC. It is self-sustaining through use of membership that can be purchased for 24 hours to one year. Riders are only charged if they use the bike for more than 30 minutes and the price moves up steeply from there, encouraging quick turnovers.
Let's hope for the best for this project.

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