Bicycle-sharing system

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EcoBici bike sharing system in Mexico City.
Vélo Libre Service- Mieträder in Lille
The Hangzhou Public Bicycle system in China, the largest bicycle sharing system in the world[1]
The Vélib' in Paris is the largest system outside of China[1]
The Indego system in Philadelphia

A bicycle-sharing system, public bicycle system, or bike-share scheme, is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short term basis. Bike share schemes allow people to borrow a bike from point "A" and return it at point "B". Many bike-share systems offer subscriptions that make the first 30–45 minutes of use either free or very inexpensive, encouraging use as transportation, this allows each bike to serve several users per day. In most bike-share cities, casual riding over several hours or days is better served by bicycle rental than by bike-share, for many systems, smartphone mapping apps show nearby stations with available bikes and open docks.

Bike-share began in Europe in 1965[2] and a viable format emerged in the mid-2000s thanks to the introduction of information technology, as of June 2014, public bike share systems were available in 50 countries on five continents, including 712 cities, operating approximately 806,200 bicycles at 37,500 stations.[3][4] As of May 2011, the Wuhan and Hangzhou Public Bicycle bike-share systems in China were the largest in the world, with around 90,000 and 60,000 bicycles respectively.[1] Of the world's 15 biggest public bike share programs 13 of them are in China.[5] By 2013, China had a combined fleet of 650,000 public bikes,[6] the Vélib' in Paris is the largest outside of China.[1] The countries with the most systems are Spain (132), Italy (104), and China (79),[1][7] as of July 2013, the systems with the higher market penetration are both operating in France, the Parisian Velib' with 1 bike per 97 inhabitants and Vélo'v in Lyon with one bike per 121 residents.[8]

Bicycle-sharing systems can be divided into two general categories: "Community Bike programmes" organised mostly by local community groups or non-profit organisations; and "Smart Bike programmes" implemented by government agencies, sometimes in a public–private partnership. The central concept of these systems is to provide free or affordable access to bicycles for short-distance trips in an urban area as an alternative to motorised public transport or private vehicles, thereby reducing traffic congestion, noise, and air pollution. Bicycle-sharing systems have also been cited as a way to solve the "last mile" problem and connect users to public transit networks.[9]

The reasons people use bike-share vary considerably, some who would otherwise use their own bicycle have concerns about theft or vandalism, parking or storage, and maintenance requirements.[10][11] However, with limits on the number of places where bicycles can be rented or returned, the service resembles public transit, and has therefore been criticised as less convenient than a privately owned bicycle used door-to-door.[12] Government-run bicycle-sharing programmes can also prove costly to the public unless subsidised by commercial interests, typically in the form of advertising on stations or the bicycles themselves.[13]

E-bike sharing is becoming more popular. The e-bikes are generally recharged upon parking them at their station.[14] E-bikes extend the range of the bikes and make cities with more difficult topographies more accessible to biking;[15] in 2009, Chiyu Chen proposed the Hybrid2-system which stores some of the pedal power on a (ultra) capacitor. Similar to vehicle-to-grid systems, the energy is then fed back to the mains electricity grid,[16] the Ohio State University announced plans to integrate electric assist bicycles as part of its bicycle share program launching in 2015.[17]

Types[edit]

White bicycles for free use, in Hoge Veluwe National Park, the Netherlands

Although users of such systems generally pay to use vehicles that they themselves do not own, sharing systems differ from traditional for-profit bike rental businesses, the first bike sharing projects were largely initiated by local community organisations, either as charitable projects intended for the disadvantaged, or to promote bicycles as a non-polluting form of transport. In recent years, in an effort to reduce losses from theft and vandalism, many bike-sharing schemes now require a user to provide a monetary deposit or other security, or to become a paid subscriber. Most large-scale urban bike sharing programmes utilise numerous bike check-out stations, and operate much like public transit systems, catering to tourists and visitors as well as local residents, some bike-sharing systems are completely free like Aarhus in Denmark.[18]

To date, no publicly owned and administered bicycle sharing programme has yet been able to consistently operate as a self-funding enterprise, using only revenues generated from membership subscriptions or user fees and charges.[citation needed] As a consequence, most publicly owned bicycle sharing systems utilise funding from public governmental and/or charitable sources. Bike sharing schemes may be administered by government entities, nonprofit private organisations, or via public-private partnerships.

Many bicycle sharing schemes have been developed by a variety of organisations over the years, all based on one or more of the following systems:

Unregulated
In this type of programme the bicycles are simply released into a city or given area for use by anyone. In some cases, such as a university campus, the bicycles are only designated for use within certain boundaries. Users are expected to leave the bike unlocked in a public area once they reach their destination, because the bike is not required to be returned to a centralised station, ready availability of such bicycles is rare, and since unlocked bikes may be taken by another user at any time, the original rider is forced to find alternative transport for the return trip. Bicycle sharing programs without locks, user identification, and security deposits have also historically suffered large loss rates from theft and vandalism.
Most large 21st century systems use information technology (IT) for bicycle reservations, pick-up, drop-off, and tracking.
Deposit
A small cash deposit releases the bike from a locked terminal and can only be retrieved by returning it to another. Since the deposit (usually one or more coins) is a fraction of the bike's cost, this does little to deter theft. Other bike sharing programmes have implemented rules requiring the user to provide a valid credit card, along with substantial security deposits for bicycles and mandatory security locks.
Membership
In this version of the system, bicycles are kept either at volunteer-run hubs or at self-service terminals throughout the city. Individuals registered with the program identify themselves with their membership card (or by a smart card, via cell phone, or other methods) at any of the hubs to check out a bicycle for a short period of time, usually three hours or less; in many schemes the first half-hour is free. The individual is responsible for any damage or loss until the bike is returned to another hub and checked in.
Many of the membership-based systems are operated through public-private partnerships. Several European cities, including the French cities of Lyon and Paris as well as London, Barcelona, Stockholm and Oslo, have signed contracts with private advertising agencies (JCDecaux in Brussels, Lyon, Paris, Seville and Dublin; Clear Channel in Stockholm, Oslo, Barcelona, Antwerp, Perpignan and Zaragoza) which supply the city with thousands of bicycles free of charge (or for a minor fee). In return, the agencies are allowed to advertise both on the bikes themselves and in other select locations in the city, some other programmes are not linked to an advertising deal (for example Smoove) and are financed as a part of public transportation scheme. These programmes attempt to reduce losses from theft by requiring users to purchase subscriptions with a credit card or debit card (this option requiring a large, temporary deposit) and by equipping the bike with complex anti-theft and bike maintenance sensors. If the bike is not returned within the subscription period, or returned with significant damage, the bike sharing operator withdraws money from the user's credit card account.
Dockless
In China, there was a rapid increase in the size and use of private app driven "dockless" bike share networks in the 2010s. Dockless bike shares are designed whereby a user need not return the bike to a kiosk or station; rather, the next user can find it by GPS.[19][20][21] Over 30 private companies have started operating in China;[22][23] in particular, Mobike and Ofo have become the world's largest bike share operators with millions of bikes spread over 100 cities, mostly in China.[24] They have also spread elsewhere,[25] where they have been criticised as "rogue" systems instituted without respect for local authorities.[26]

Long-term checkout[edit]

Sometimes known as bike library systems, these bicycles may be lent free of charge, for a refundable deposit, or for a small fee. A bicycle is checked out to one person who will typically keep the bike for several months, and is encouraged or obliged to lock it between uses. A disadvantage of this system is a lower usage frequency, around three uses per day on average as compared to 10 to 15 uses per day typically experienced with other bike-sharing schemes.

Advantages of long-term use include rider familiarity with the bicycle and a mode of travel that is always nearby and instantly ready for use, the bicycle can be checked out like a library book, a liability waiver can be collected at check-out, and the bike can be returned any time. A Library Bike in a person's possession can be chosen for some trips instead of a car, thus lowering car usage, the long-term rental system generally results in fewer repair costs to the scheme administrator, as riders are incentivised to obtain minor maintenance in order to keep the bike in running order during the long rental period. Most of the long-term systems implemented to date are funded solely through charitable donations of second-hand bicycles, using unpaid volunteer labour to maintain, and administer the bicycle fleet. While reducing or eliminating the need for public funding, such a scheme imposes an outer limit to program expansion, the Arcata Bike Library, in California, has loaned over 4000 bicycles using this system.

Partnership with public transport sector[edit]

In a national-level programme that combines a typical rental system with several of the above system types, a passenger railway operator or infrastructure manager partners with a national cycling organisation and others to create a system closely connected with public transport, these programmes usually allow for a longer rental time of up to 24 or 48 hours, as well as tourists and round trips. In some German cities the national rail company offers a bike rental service called Call a Bike.

In Guangzhou, China, the privately operated Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit system includes cycle lanes, and a public bicycle system.[27]

In some cases, like Santander Cycles in London, the bicycle sharing system is owned by the public transport authority itself.

In other cases, like EnCicla in the city of Medellin (Colombia, South America), the Bicycle Sharing System is connected to other modes of transportation, such as the Metro.[28]

Partnership with car park operators[edit]

Some car park operators such as Vinci Park in France lend bikes to their customers who park a car.[29]

Partnership with car-share operations[edit]

City CarShare, a San Francisco-based non-profit, received a federal grant in 2012 to integrate electric bicycles within its existing car-sharing fleet. The program is set to launch before the end of 2012 with 45 bikes.[30]

Operations[edit]

Bicycle station in the Washington, D.C., suburbs powered by solar panels

Many community-run bicycle programmes paint their bicycles in a strong solid colour, such as yellow or white. Painting the bicycles helps to advertise the programme, as well as deter theft (a painted-over bicycle frame is normally less desirable to a buyer). However, theft rates in many bike-sharing programmes remain high, as most shared-use bicycles have value only as basic transport, and may be resold to unsuspecting buyers after being cleaned and repainted; in response, some large-scale bike sharing programmes have designed their own bike using specialised frame designs and other parts to prevent disassembly and resale of stolen parts.

Another advantage of bike-sharing systems is that the smart-cards allow the bicycles to be returned to any station in the system, which facilitates one-way rides to work, education or shopping centres. Thus, one bike may take 10–15 rides a day with different users and can be ridden up to 10,000 km (6,200 mi) a year (citing Lyon, France). Each bike has at least one of these rides with one unique user per day which indicates that in 2014 there were a minimum of at least 294 million unique bike share cyclists worldwide (806,200 bicycles x 365) although common sense indicates that this figure may be a very small estimate of the true number of bike share users.[31]

It was found—in cities like Paris and Copenhagen—that to have a major impact there had to be a high density of available bikes. Copenhagen has 2500 bikes which cannot be used outside the 9 km2 (3.5 sq mi) zone of the city centre (a fine of DKr 1000 applies to any user taking bikes across the canal bridges around the periphery). Since Paris's Vélib' programme operates with an increasing fee past the free first half-hour, users have a strong disincentive to take the bicycles out of the city centre, the distance between stations is only 300–400 metres (1,000–1,300 ft) in inner city areas.

A LinkBike station in George Town, Penang. The public bicycle sharing service was launched in 2016.[32]

Size[edit]

In May 2011, there were around 375 bikesharing systems comprising 236,000 bicycles, and by April 2013 there were around 535 schemes around the world, made of an estimated fleet of 517,000 bicycles,[7] as of June 2014, public bikesharing systems were operating in 50 countries on five continents, including 712 cities, operating approximately 806,200 bicycles at 37,500 stations.[3][4]

In 2012 the Wuhan and Hangzhou Public Bicycle programs in China are the largest in the world, with around 90,000 and 60,000 bicycles respectively. China has seen a rise in private "dockless" bike shares with fleets that dwarf systems outside of China.[33] One such bike share alone, Mobike, operates 100,000 dockless bikes in each of the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.[34] Another operator, Bluegogo operates 35,000 bikes in Shenzhen, 25,000 bikes in Guangzhou, and 10,000 in Chengdu.[35] Overall, there are more than 30 private bike share operators that have put over 3 million bikes in various cities in China,[36] the Vélib' in Paris, which comprises around 18,000 bicycles and 1,230 bicycle stations, is the largest outside of China. Santander Cycles in London has about 8,000 bikes, and New York City's Citi Bike has about 6,000.[1][37][38]

As of July 2013, the systems with the higher market penetration are Velib' in Paris with 1 bike per 97 inhabitants, Vélo'v in Lyon with 1 bike per 121 residents, and Hangzhou in China with 1 per 145. Barcelona's Bicing has 1 per 270, Montreal's Bixi has 1 per 300, London's Santander Cycles has 1 per 984, and New York City's Citi Bike has 1 per 8,336.[8]

A study published in 2015 in the journal Transportation concludes that bike sharing systems can be grouped into behaviourally similar categories based upon their size.[39] Cluster analysis shows that larger systems display greater behavioural heterogeneity amongst their stations, and smaller systems generally have stations which all behave similarly in terms of their daily utilisation patterns.

History[edit]

Bike-sharing systems have undergone changes which can be categorised into three key phases, or generations, these include the first generation, called white bikes (or free bikes); the second generation of coin-deposit systems; and the third generation, or information technology (IT) based systems. Recent technological and operational improvements are also paving the way for a fourth generation, known as the demand-responsive, multimodal system.[1][40]

Programs in China[edit]

Initially, a number of traditional "docked" public bike systems operated by local municipal governments opened across China, with the largest ones being in Wuhan and Hangzhou; in 2017, a number of private competing app-based "dockless" bike-sharing programs have started to appear in numerous cities across China. The two largest of the "dockless" operators are Mobike and Ofo, others include Bluegogo and Xiaoming.[41][42] Many Chinese cities have experienced massive growth in the number and use these "dockless" bikeshare programs, clogging sidewalks around major commercial hubs and subway stations with parked bikes.[43] Given the speed of growth with these services, local governments did not have any regulations or planning to accommodate these systems.[44] Other problems related to these bikes have prompted action by some municipal governments, which have confiscated and impounded bikes and improved regulations to accommodate this new phenomenon.[45][46] However, early studies in Beijing and Shanghai have linked the massive increase of dockless bike shares have caused a decrease in the number of private automoble trips that are less than five kilometres.[47]

Beijing[edit]

In March 2017, Beijing saw over 200,000 "dockless" shared bikes from various companies entered service, the bikes are accessible via an app, and cost 1 RMB per hour plus a refundable damage deposit of 299 RMB. This is on top of the existing municipal run dock based bike network with 86,000 bikes, the Beijing municipal government has pledged to improve management and parking availability in response to the rapidly growing fleets of dockless bikes shares.[48]

Guangzhou[edit]

The Guangzhou BRT has a bike share program integrated around its BRT stations. According to the local government, in 2017, Guangzhou has a fleet of over 700,000 bikes in various public and private bike share programs, on average 4 million trips each day were made using share bikes.[49] The local government is reviewing traffic management strategies and road design standards to accommodate the increase in cycling traffic.[50][51]

Guilin[edit]

In 2014, Guilin City opened docked bike share with 3,000 bikes spread out over 100 stations.[52]

Haikou[edit]

An Ofo bike

Starting from around the beginning of 2017, Haikou, the capital of Hainan province, experienced a massive increase in the number of "dockless" bikes by Ofo, Mobike, and "Quick to" which and cost 2 RMB per hour. The fourth is the Haikou Public Bike System which is a traditional municipal run docked system.

Hangzhou[edit]

Before the arrival of private dockless systems, Hangzhou was the largest bike share system in the world until it was overtaken by Wuhan; in 2011, the system had 2,050 bike-share stations with a fleet of over 50,000 bikes and serving 240,000 trips per day.[53] By 2015, it was expanded to over 84,000 bikes and 3,354 stations.[54]

Nanning[edit]

A municipal docked bike share program opened in 2014 with about 25,000 bikes and 896 stations.[55]

Ningbo[edit]

A municipal docked bike share program opened in 2013 with 7,500 bikes and 300 stations.[56] By 2015, it has been expanded to 30,000 bikes spread over 1,240 stations across the city.[57]

Quanzhou[edit]

A municipal docked bike share program, operated by Taiwan based YouBike, opened in 2016 with over 200 stations and a fleet of 6,000 bikes;[58] in 2017, it is being expanded to 410 stations with over 18,000 bikes.[59][60]

Shanghai[edit]

The Shanghai Bike Authority estimated that there are 280,000 shared bikes in Shanghai by March 2017, with a projected increase of 220,000 bikes by June;[61] in March 2017, the government in Shanghai is requesting a temporary ban on the introduction of new private "dockless" shared bikes. [62] Shanghai has prepared new regulations that will restrict rider ages to 12 and 70 and bikes in service for more than three years in a row must be permanently removed.[63] Mobike alone operates 100,000 bikes in Shanghai and has claimed to have made Shanghai into the city with the world's largest bike share network.[64]

Shaoxing[edit]

In 2011, a 1,500 bike, 26 station bike share opened in Shaoxing;[65] in 2012, it was expanded by 2,000 bikes and 50 stations.[66]

Xi'an[edit]

Xi'an has a traditional docked bike share with a total of 52,000 public bicycles and 1800 stations in 2016.[67]

Wenzhou[edit]

Wenzhou has multiple bike share programs serving different districts of the city, the first one opened in 2012 serving Lucheng District with about 5,000 bikes and 180 stations.[68] Next year, a bike share with 2,200 bikes and 66 stations opened in Longwan District, at the same time, a separate bike share program with 1,040 bikes and 32 stations opened in Ouhai District. The latter of the two is being expanded to 3,250 bikes and 109 stations.[69] According to local government records more than 20,000 dockless bikes from various private bike share companies have entered service in Wenzhou recently.[70]

Zhengzhou[edit]

A municipal docked bike share program opened in 2015 with 50,000 bikes and over 700 stations.[71][72]

European programs[edit]

Old defunct (2000 - 2010) Helsinki city bikes
BikeMi, Milan, Italy

In 1967, the group Provo painted 50 bicycles white and left them in downtown Amsterdam to be freely used, the bicycles were impounded by authorities, as a city ordinance forbade leaving unlocked bikes in public places.

In 1974 the French city of La Rochelle launched a free bike-sharing programme, Vélos Jaunes (Yellow Bikes), featuring unisex bicycles which were free to take and use; in terms of public usage and acceptance, it is regarded today as one of the first truly successful bike-sharing programmes. The programme continues today, albeit in modified form (rental charges apply after the first two hours, and personal identification is required for all bike rentals).

In 1993, a Green Bike Scheme bike sharing programme was initiated in Cambridge, United Kingdom, using a fleet of some 300 bicycles, the overwhelming majority of the fleet were stolen or missing within a year of the programme's introduction, and the Green Bike Scheme was abandoned.[73]

In an attempt to overcome losses from theft, the next innovation adopted by bike sharing programmes was the use of so-called 'smart technology'. One of the first 'smart bike' programmes was the Grippa™ bike storage rack system used in Portsmouth's Bikeabout scheme.[74][75][76] The Bikeabout scheme was launched in October 1995 by the University of Portsmouth, UK as part of its Green Transport Plan in an effort to cut car travel by staff and students between campus sites.[75] Funded in part by the EU's ENTRANCE[77] programme, the Bikeabout scheme was a "smart card" fully automated system.[75][76][78] For a small fee, users were issued 'smart cards' with magnetic stripes to be swiped through an electronic card reader at a covered 'bike store' kiosk, unlocking the bike from its storage rack.[75] CCTV camera surveillance was installed at all bike stations in an effort to limit vandalism.[75] Upon arriving at the destination station, the smart card was used to open a cycle rack and record the bike's safe return.[75] A charge was automatically registered on the user's card if the bike was returned with damage or if the time exceeded the three-hour maximum.[75] Implemented with an original budget of approximately £200,000, the Portsmouth Bikeabout scheme was never very successful in terms of rider usage,[a] in part due to the limited number of bike kiosks and hours of operation.[75][78] Seasonal weather restrictions and concerns over unjustified charges for bike damage also imposed barriers to usage,[75] the Bikeabout program was discontinued by the University in 1998 in favour of expanded minibus service; the total costs of the Bikeabout programme were never disclosed.[79][80]

Following the previous bike-sharing systems, the first next generation bike-sharing system, was introduced in 1991 in Farsø.[81] Even though it was a small-scale scheme, it paved the way for the Copenhagen's ByCyklen programme, which was introduced in 1995 and was the first large-scale urban bike-sharing programme to feature specially designed bicycles with parts which could not be used on other bikes. To obtain a bicycle, riders paid a refundable deposit at one of 110 special locking bike stands, and the riders then had unlimited use of the bike within a specified 'city bike zone',[82] the fine for not returning a bicycle or leaving the bike-sharing zone exceeded US$150, and was strictly enforced by the police. Originally, the programme's founders hoped to completely finance the programme by selling advertising space on the bicycles, which was placed on the bike's frame and its solid disc-type wheels, this funding source quickly proved to be insufficient, and the city of Copenhagen took over the administration of the programme, funding most of the programme costs through appropriations from city revenues along with contributions from corporate donors. Since the City Bikes programme was free to the user, there is no return on the capital invested by the municipality, and a considerable amount of public funds was constantly used to keep the system in service, to enforce regulations, and to replace missing bikes; in 2013 a new version was expected to be introduced but the municipality of Copenhagen temporarily withdrew its support and there were no free bicycles for most of 2013.[83][84][85] Copenhagen municipality changed its mind and a new version was introduced in late 2013.[86]

In September 1997, another Grippa™ rack-based public share system was established as a pilot project in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for the use of commuters, but was terminated the following year due to poorly functioning electronic bike racks.[76]

North American programs[edit]

United States programs[edit]

Launched in 2013, Divvy is the bike sharing program for Chicago and the largest in North America.
Capital Bikeshare was launched in Washington, D.C. and Arlington County, Virginia in 2010.
Solar powered Boulder B-cycle station with double sided docks. The system was launched in April 2010.
Citi Bike opened in New York City in May 2013.
The Bay Area Bike Share system began operating in the San Francisco Bay Area in August 2013.
Social Bicycles, in Hoboken, New Jersey.

One of the first community bicycle projects in the United States was started in Portland, Oregon in 1994 by civic and environmental activists Tom O'Keefe, Joe Keating and Steve Gunther, it took the approach of simply releasing a number of bicycles to the streets for unrestricted use. While Portland's Yellow Bike Project was successful in terms of publicity, it proved unsustainable due to theft and vandalism of the bicycles, the Yellow Bike Project was eventually terminated, and replaced with the Create A Commuter (CAC) program, which provides free secondhand bicycles to certain preselected low-income and disadvantaged people who need a bicycle to get to work or attend job training courses,[87] and the 2016 Biketown system.

In 1996, a pilot bicycle share project known as the Orange Bike Project was organised in Tucson, Arizona by Bootstraps to Share, a homeless advocacy organisation inspired by the Bikes Not Bombs movement.[88] Using funds from a taxpayer-funded government grant to obtain, recondition, and maintain 30 bicycles, project organisers announced plans to station the bicycles in downtown Tucson and areas adjacent to the University of Arizona,[88] the publicly shared bicycles, painted bright orange by Earl Scheib to identify them, were primarily intended for use by the homeless or those without means of affordable transportation.[88] The initial 30 bicycles placed into service for the Orange Bike Project were all stolen within a few weeks.[89] A total of 80 bicycles were eventually used in the Orange Bike Project, all of which were either stolen or vandalised beyond repair;[89] in one case, an Orange Bike Project bicycle was thrown in front of a freight train, in others, bikes were found with major frame damage consistent with deliberate vandalism.[89] The program was terminated after only five months of operation.[88][89]

In 1996, Madison, Wisconsin, instituted its Red Bikes Project, a public bike sharing program, these red-painted bicycles were available for the use of the general public, primarily in the student areas of State Street between the University of Wisconsin campus and the Wisconsin State Capitol. Initially, the only rule regarding the use of a Red Bikes Project bicycle was that it was required to remain outside and unlocked, and thus available for any passerby, after a surge in bicycle thefts and vandalism, the program was modified to require a valid credit card and $80 in security deposits for both the bicycle and the now-mandatory bicycle lock.[90] The program is now only available seasonally, from spring (when all snow has melted) to 30 November.[91]

In 2007, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Director of Bicycle Programs, Nicole Freedman, decided to bring bike sharing to the Boston area. In a metro area divided among many municipalities, it would have to span municipal boundaries, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the regional planning agency for the metro-Boston region of 101 cities and towns, joined the effort to operate a bike share in the Boston region. Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville also participated; in 2011, the metropolitan area of Boston launched its 60-station, 600-bike Hubway system, sponsored by the shoe manufacturer New Balance and funded in part by a $3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, the contract to operate was awarded to Alta Bicycle Share and the equipment provider was PBSC Urban Solutions. Bicycle-sharing was an immediate success, recording 100,000 station-to-station rides in its first two and a half months, after recording 140,000 trips in four months, Boston's European-style bicycle-sharing system expanded outside of city limits, planting stations across Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline. Hubway has over 100 stations throughout the Greater Boston area.

In 2007, Bikes Belong, an advocacy group financed by major bicycle manufacturers, worked with city officials, local advocates, and the healthcare firm Humana to bring bikesharing to the Republican and Democratic 2008 conventions. Called "Freewheelin!" the program offered 1,000 bicycles at 12 stations throughout the downtowns of the host cities, Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul, over the five days of each convention. Bikes Belong's stated goal was to provide a proof-of-concept that large-scale bicycle sharing that was exploding in European cities could work in U.S. cities and provide a valuable addition to the transportation mix. The program was popular among conventioneers, and helped the city of Denver to create a narrative around the "green" attributes of the convention. Both Denver and Minneapolis successfully pursued permanent bikesharing systems, with Denver B-cycle launching on 22 April 2010 as the first of its scale in the U.S., followed by Minneapolis' NiceRide system launching on 10 June 2010.

In Washington, D.C., a privately operated bike-sharing project known as SmartBike DC opened for service in 2008 for the District of Columbia with 10 stations and 120 bikes. Operated by an advertising firm, Clear Channel Outdoor, the system was funded by advertising revenues from bus shelters on public streets, along with revenues from user membership and usage fees.[92] However, the program suffered from perennially low membership and rider usage rates, as well as a limited number of bike rental stations,[93] the program was officially terminated in January 2011.[94] On 20 September 2010, Arlington County, Virginia and the District of Columbia launched the U.S.'s first public-private partnership bikeshare system, Capital Bikeshare, this time with local government and federal funds and operated by Alta Bicycle Share (now Motivate International) with equipment from Montreal-based PBSC Urban Solutions. This system was the largest bike-share service in the United States until May 2013, with over 200 stations and annual ridership of more than two million,[95] the system has expanded into Alexandria, Virginia in 2012[96] and Montgomery County, Maryland in 2013.

On 22 April 2013, Fort Worth Bike Sharing, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, launched a B-cycle system consisting of 300 bikes and 30 stations serving Downtown, Near Southside, and Cultural District in Fort Worth, Texas.[97][98] Fort Worth B-cycle is included in a program called "B-connected" which allows members of over 15 participating B-cycle cities to use their annual memberships for free in other cities.[99]

Citi Bike opened in New York City in May 2013, with 6,000 bicycles and 330 docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. As of June 2013 Citi Bike is the largest bike sharing program in the United States.[100]

Zagster bike sharing station
Zagster bike sharing station on a corporate campus in Burlington, MA

In August 2013 the Bay Area Bike Share system began operating in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, the system allocated half of its 700 bicycle fleet in San Francisco, and the rest along the Caltrain corridor in Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose.[101] In 2015, it was announced that the scheme would expand to 7,000 bikes, over 2016-2017, and would include the East Bay Area communities of Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland.[102]

In May 2014, over 40 bicycles were stolen from Baltimore Recreation and Parks department's bike-share program, the bikes were stolen during the city's Ride Around Reservoir program in Druid Hill Park. The bikes were set up to be lent out when a group of youths took them, the cost of replacing the stolen bikes is devastating to the program, which operates completely on donations.[103][104]

Columbus, Ohio started a CoGo share system in 2013, owned by the City with the hardware provided by PBSC and operated by Motivate.[105] In summer 2015, Zagster launched a 115 bicycle, 15 station system on the Ohio State University campus, the university decided not to integrate with the city's CoGo system.[106]

In 2015, the Green Apple Bikes bike-share system started in Manhattan, Kansas that makes single-speed cruisers available free for 4-hour periods, the program is funded by a consortium of businesses, and bicycles are maintained by volunteers.[107][108]

On September 21, 2015, the Citi Bike system that started in New York City in 2013 expanded across the Hudson River to Jersey City, New Jersey, on September 21, 2015, with 35 stations and 350 bikes. One membership works for both Citi Bike New York and Citi Bike Jersey City[109] In July 2016 the system experienced its first wave of expansion with 15 new stations and 150 additional bikes, the system now boasts 50 stations with 500 bicycles throughout Jersey City.[110]

In June 2017, the city of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin partnered with Zagster to incorporate an adaptive bike-share station into their existing Bublr network. It is thought to be the first adaptive bike-share station in Wisconsin, and the dual partnership is thought to be the first of its kind in the United States. [111]

Canadian programs[edit]

Canada's largest bike share system is the BIXI Montréal system, the system was developed by PBSC Urban Solutions. Started in May 2009, it ha s expanded to over 5000 bicycles at 450 stations,[112] the Bixi system was implemented in June 2009 in Ottawa/Gatineau as Capital Bixi, and in May 2011 in Toronto, Ontario as Bixi Toronto.

BIXI Montreal, Quebec, Canada

From 2001 to 2006, BikeShare, operated by the Community Bicycle Network (CBN) in Toronto, was for a time the most popular community bicycle sharing program in North America. BikeShare was intended to overcome some of the theft issues by requiring yearly memberships to sign out any of the 150 refurbished yellow bikes locked up at 16 hubs throughout central Toronto, at its height, over 400 members could sign out a bike from any hub for up to three days. The hubs were located at stores, cafes and community centres where the staff would volunteer their time to sign bikes out and in,[113] despite steadily increasing administrative, implementation, and maintenance costs, CBN could only charge users around 20 percent of actual costs, as users were unlikely to spend more than $50 per year for a membership. Without sufficient funds in the form of private and government grants, CBN was forced to discontinue BikeShare in 2006.[114]

From 2005 to 2008, a largely unregulated bike sharing program was operated by the Peoples' Pedal organisation in Edmonton, Alberta, the program suffered from high theft and vandalism rates, with 95% of the bikes that had been placed into service stolen or missing by 2008.[115]

In 2016, Vancouver has installed a bike sharing system, Mobi (bike share), operated by CycleHop Corp. (Smoove system), starting at 1000 bikes in June 2016, 1500 at the end of the summer, 2500 in 2017.[116]

Effects[edit]

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports observing[117] an increase in cycling and health benefits where bicycle sharing systems are run. In the United States, bikesharing programs have proliferated in recent years, but collision and injury rates for bikesharing are lower than previously computed rates for personal bicycling; at least two people have been killed while using a bike share scheme.[118][119][120]

List of bike sharing systems[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Portsmouth Bikeabout programme never exceeded 500 users at any time during its operational existence.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]