Sharing bike share

One the threads in the discussion about the bike share planned to launch in this area later this summer has been the question of access for a wide range of people. It's a problem that bike shares have faced in other cities, where ridership has been overwhelming white and upper income. A recent study talked with residents of a trio cities about why that is, and the roadblock frequently mentioned was lack of info about how programs worked and the discounts available, and concerns about incurring fees if something happens to the bike. [City Lab]


I think part of the balancing act with any bike sharing system is recreational vs. business needs. Typically, these systems go hand in hand with recreational activities, since folks can utilize the bike for a few hours and then return it, to be reused. However, if you need the bike to get from Point A to Point B for work, if Point B doesn't have a docking station, that bike is sticking with you for the majority of the day and not being returned to the system. While this may be broad generalization, though backed up with many studies, minorities and the working poor need bikes more often for business than recreation. Therefore, how do you get the system to match these realities.

As a teenager, my bike was how I got to work and think any bike sharing system would struggle to accommodate my needs. I'm hoping CDTA will be able to be successful on this balancing act, but imagine that unless folks are working near a busy intersection or bus station where it makes sense to have a docking station, it may be a tough nut to crack on integrating bike sharing with most users "business" needs. This probably explains why the initial deployment is focused more on recreational aspects of the system.

From my experience with CarShare, another issue is skepticism. When Capital CarShare launched we focused on low-income neighborhoods, ran promotions, and made sure to locate vehicles in neighborhoods in need of access to transportation. When we spoke with people, one-on-one, out on the street or at events, we heard that people saw the vehicles and saw the membership promotions but thought it was some type of scam. Low-income populations are so often targeted with scams and ripped off by failed services that they are hesitant to journey into the territory of early adopter or founding member.

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Recent Comments

Washington Avenue definitely needs more than one lane in each direction, but that doesn't mean it can't be redesigned. They can reduce the size of the lanes, add a median, and add a protected bike lane where the shoulder of the road now lies. I agree, however, that the entire Harriman loop would have to be redesigned and that includes those over-passes, so this would be an extremely expensive undertaking if they want to do it right. But there could be significant development on the land that is now wasted by asphalt that could offset that cost and bulk up the tax base for the city.

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