I highly recommend this excellent article from Grist on bike sharing. It cites numerous examples from around the world (here’s a handy map of them all), which spark several ideas for shaping the Puget Sound program (already in the works):
- One bike share in Germany uses “station-less” bikes that are parked anywhere and located by smartphone. Sound familiar? The increasingly popular Car2Go program in Seattle uses the same model. I already tweeted @Car2Go asking why not start Bike2Go, if not in Seattle, then in other cities they service. Feel free to do the same! =)
- Clear Channel started the well-known and highly successful program in Paris called Vélib’. Seattle has no shortage of potential “anchor” corporations that could do the same or at least take a supportive role, yet according to this PSBJ article, Puget Sound Bike Share is still seeking sponsorship. Looks like Microsoft, UW, and REI are already in on the action, or are at least offering statements of support. Anyone from Boeing, Amazon, Safeco, Nordstrom, Alaska Air, Costco, Nintendo, Raleigh USA, etc., etc. reading this? Seems like a golden business opportunity.
- A program in Hangzhou, China, integrates its bike sharing with other local transit options like bus and subway. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Seattleites could use their ORCA card to access bike share?
What features would you like to see in our local bike share program?
I really like the article’s concluding statement: “Having bikes ready to go on the streets encourages more people to try out biking, and once they experience its convenience, speed, and lower cost, they then advocate for further improvements to cycling infrastructure — like bike lanes, paths, and parking — making it even easier for more riders to join in. This “virtuous cycle” means that it is increasingly likely that bike sharing could soon show up in a city near you.”
What a fantastic way to increase ridership, and what an extraordinary opportunity for Seattle.