According to this post within Wikipedia, there are over 300 of these bike share programs worldwide and they have gone through three generations.
- Free bikes are painted a distinctive color and distributed unlocked for anyone's use. (These programs invariably fail due to theft and vandalism)
- 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)
- The third generation uses credit card deposits, membership within the program and credit card withdrawals that pay for lost or damaged bikes
|The locations were picked in concert with the public. http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/bikeshare/station-map/|
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.