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Old Posted Dec 29, 2010, 8:53 PM
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US bikesharing systems ranked by size

When transportation historians write about bikesharing in the US, they will look back on 2010 as a watershed year. After years of pilot programs and other incremental steps, it was in 2010 that real large-scale bikesharing finally appeared in the US, first in Denver, and later in Minneapolis and Washington.

To commemorate the big year, here is a list of all existing US bikesharing systems, ranked by size (according to the excellent Bike-Sharing Blog).

Code:
Rank 	City 		Bikes 	Stations
1 	Washington 	1,110 	114
2 	Minneapolis 	700 	65
3 	Denver 		500 	50
4 	Chicago 	100 	6
5 	UC - Irvine 	40 	4
6 	WSU - Pullman 	32 	4
7 	Des Moines 	18 	4
Info on each one:
Washington
Minneapolis
Denver
Chicago
UC-Irvine
WSU-Pullman
Des Moines
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 29, 2010, 9:01 PM
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As someone who's used Capital Bikeshare, it's a damn good system. The best part is that they're planning on expanding it even more, a great thing considering how well it's been received in DC. I'm still surprised NYC hasn't attempted bikesharing; if London can pull it off, NYC should.
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Old Posted Dec 29, 2010, 9:05 PM
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New York is working on it. It's just taking them longer.

A number of other cities will be getting in on the game soon. Miami and Boston probably most notably.
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Old Posted Dec 29, 2010, 9:09 PM
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chicago's B-cycle bike share system is currently a joke, useful only perhaps to tourists.

they need to increase the number of bikes and stations by several orders of magnitude, but i fear they were too timid about jumping into the chicago pool and as a result it will flop before it has a chance to succeed.

i'd love to be wrong, but seriously, how is a starter system of 100 bikes and 6 poorly placed stations ever supposed to take off?



also, according to the B-cycle website, they have a system in san antonio with 14 stations (they don't say how many bikes) and a system coming soon to louisville (no indication of size and scope).
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Old Posted Dec 29, 2010, 9:41 PM
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I saw a bike sharing station at the John Hancock center. I wasn't sure how much it cost. Hopefully not alot. It's incredibly frustrating when I have friends in town, and they want to go on a bike ride, and I have no extra bike to lend. Hopefully they'll become just as easy to pick up and park as say buying a transit card.
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Old Posted Dec 29, 2010, 10:20 PM
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San Antonio hasn't launched yet, though I believe it is very close.

Miami is also set for early 2011, I think.
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Questions for those with bike sharing in their Cities or those in the know:

1. What's the policy/rule of thumb regarding locking the bikes up places that aren't the main stations? I.E. if someone owns a chain lock and wants to hit a coffee shop between stations are they dissuaded from using their own lock for fear of possible theft?

2. What seems to work better as far as station placement: placing them at fairly evenly distanced intervals to create predictability of location (i.e. at intersections every 1/4 or half mile) or putting them more near major destinations/event/shopping centers? Obviously in Downtowns I'd imagine its best to have them near places like Convention Centers, big tourist draws, etc. but I suppose I meant for less dense areas.

3. Finally what about the balance between putting the stations in lower income areas where people may need alternative transportation versus theft/vandalism? For whatever reason the Bike Sharing program seems to me like something more likely to be used by Tourists, Yuppies, etc rather than the Urban Poor but thats just a weird feeling and not really based on anything.

Last edited by HooverDam; Dec 30, 2010 at 12:50 PM.
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2010, 2:02 PM
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Philly has been exploring them for sometime but has not implemented a system thus far. As always, I think it's coming down to a lack of funding.
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2010, 2:50 PM
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> 1. What's the policy regarding locking the bikes up places that aren't the main stations?

There are no rules to that effect. If you want to carry your own lock around and do that then you're welcome to. However, doing so is not really in the spirit of how bikesharing works. You're not supposed to have to plan ahead to carry anything with you. The idea is that there should be stations every couple of blocks and that you use it for point-to-point travel. Ideally, instead of locking your bikeshare privately, you'd just dock it at a station and pick up another one when you're ready to leave.

Also, you get charged a little bit if you have a bike out for longer than 1/2 hour, so if docking at a station is at all a convenient option, that's what you do.

> 2. What seems to work better as far as station placement: placing them at fairly evenly distanced intervals to create predictability of location or putting them more near major destinations/event/shopping centers?

It's not an either/or question. What works best is to do both of those things. You want to saturate an area with stations so that there's always one close by, but the more visible, the better.

> 3. Finally what about the balance between putting the stations in lower income areas where people may need alternative transportation versus theft/vandalism?

Like renting a car, getting a bikeshare membership requires you to have a credit card (so they can trace you in case you steal a bike). This does limit how it can be used in low income areas, although certainly low income folks need efficient and inexpensive transportation more than anyone.

Technically speaking, the best way to distribute stations is to saturate neighborhoods one at a time, in order of population density. Politically speaking it is sometimes necessary to spread stations out into a larger number of neighborhoods in a shorter amount of time.
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2010, 5:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
San Antonio hasn't launched yet, though I believe it is very close.

Miami is also set for early 2011, I think.

Miami Beach was supposed to be up and running by now based on newspaper reports. I haven't been over there to see yet though. The website isn't much help either.


http://www.decobike.com/
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2010, 5:55 PM
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Thanks Cirrus, very informative! I'd love for PHX to get something like this, but with how bad the City & State budget situation is right now it'll be a while. We are getting our first 'Bike Boulevard' soon, so thats nice I guess.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2010, 5:57 PM
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I think it is sad that the list is so small. Seven cities by now is paltry.

To me, the biggest surprise isn't the size, but rather what cities aren't on there. Seems to me, traditional college towns would be a great area for this type of service, even more so than traditional urban cities like NY.
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2010, 6:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HooverDam
1. What's the policy/rule of thumb regarding locking the bikes up places that aren't the main stations? I.E. if someone owns a chain lock and wants to hit a coffee shop between stations are they dissuaded from using their own lock for fear of possible theft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrus
There are no rules to that effect. If you want to carry your own lock around and do that then you're welcome to. However, doing so is not really in the spirit of how bikesharing works. You're not supposed to have to plan ahead to carry anything with you. The idea is that there should be stations every couple of blocks and that you use it for point-to-point travel. Ideally, instead of locking your bikeshare privately, you'd just dock it at a station and pick up another one when you're ready to leave.

Also, you get charged a little bit if you have a bike out for longer than 1/2 hour, so if docking at a station is at all a convenient option, that's what you do.
In cities with B-cycle such as Denver the bikes have a built in lock and key.
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2010, 4:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
[i][b]
Like renting a car, getting a bikeshare membership requires you to have a credit card (so they can trace you in case you steal a bike). This does limit how it can be used in low income areas, although certainly low income folks need efficient and inexpensive transportation more than anyone..
Mexico City allows people to purchase a membership via credit card or cell phone.

Even the poorest of people these days have phones. Initial purchase and usage fees appear on your phone bill.
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  #15  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2010, 4:14 AM
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Another question: since you mentioned starting in one area, saturating it, then moving on, what amount of geographic area have people found to be successful for an initial start of a program like this?

For instance if PHX were to ever pursue this I imagine putting B Cycle stations at/near LRT stations would be a good way to start. But the Phoenix segment of the line is about 14 miles long and about 24 stations.

My thought was perhaps what would be best for Phoenix's case would be to saturate the square 1.5 mile that makes up downtown and additionally the LRT line to start. Though perhaps having only Bike sharing stations at LRT stops that don't have other bike stations nearby would be an issue.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2011, 4:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HooverDam View Post
Another question: since you mentioned starting in one area, saturating it, then moving on, what amount of geographic area have people found to be successful for an initial start of a program like this?

For instance if PHX were to ever pursue this I imagine putting B Cycle stations at/near LRT stations would be a good way to start. But the Phoenix segment of the line is about 14 miles long and about 24 stations.

My thought was perhaps what would be best for Phoenix's case would be to saturate the square 1.5 mile that makes up downtown and additionally the LRT line to start. Though perhaps having only Bike sharing stations at LRT stops that don't have other bike stations nearby would be an issue.

For phoenix I would start by the university and surrounding areas.

Exact locations would depend on off-campus housing, and points of interest (supermarket, street with bars etc)

And thats where Id stop. Phoenix just isnt set up for bike share. And Im not talking about the weather, just the gross distances and lack of density.


As for the general question...it varies.

I suggest looking at this website

http://oobrien.com/vis/bikes/?city=mexicocity

toggle between the cities to see how concentrated the stations are. Look at the usage to see if it's successful or not.

I believe it is 4am in London and 190 bikes are in use.

11pm and 3 in use in DC
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Old Posted Jan 2, 2011, 6:17 PM
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Quote:
My thought was perhaps what would be best for Phoenix's case would be to saturate the square 1.5 mile that makes up downtown and additionally the LRT line to start. Though perhaps having only Bike sharing stations at LRT stops that don't have other bike stations nearby would be an issue.
Obviously it depends how many bikes you're starting with. If you're starting with 100, then you really have to keep it to one neighborhood. If you're starting with 1,000 then you can spread it out a bit more.
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  #18  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2011, 8:24 AM
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The Chicago system looks pretty pathetic and expensive. $220 for a year membership and only 6 stations. The Washington one looks pretty good though. $75 for a year membership with tons of stations.
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Old Posted Jan 6, 2011, 4:57 AM
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Denver's bike share seems fairly reasonable with 50 stations (500 bikes) and a yearly membership cost of $65 and discounts for students ($55/annual) and elderly ($45/annual). The site says December 5th was the last day of the first year of operation for Denver's B-cycle system, which is closing for winter. It will open again in early spring and they will consider leaving the system open all winter long or for longer periods into winter months, in future years (pending a study on winter safety and additional wear/tear on bikes from winter use).

In it's first year of operation, Denver B-Cycle was open from April 22, 2010 until December 5, 2010. During those 7 months of operation, nearly 103,000 trips were made. In 2011, the system will reopen sooner, as a yet unannounced day in March. It is my personal opinion that they will end up keeping the system open through the Holiday season this year, until about January 5th. Then shutting down from January 5th through March 5th, for system/bike maintenance.

I also expect the Denver b-cycle system to construct at least 10-15 new stations this winter, to further expand it's penetration and enhance it's reach. In fact, there is one Denver related expansion of the B-Cycle system already announced. It will be in Boulder, Colorado and any Denver B-cycle membership will be usable at Boulder B-cycle stations and any Boulder membership will be usable at Denver B-cycle stations -- essentially meaning they are both part of one system. Here is the report from DenverUrbanism Blog:

Quote:
Sneak peak at Boulder bikesharing
Posted by Dan on January 5, 2011

This spring Boulder will join Denver in the ranks of American cities with bikesharing. A report presented to the Boulder City Council affords us a sneak peak of what Boulder’s system will look like. Here are some tidbits:

-Boulder will operate with the same B-Cycle system that Denver uses, including similar bikes, stations, and pricing.
-Boulder B-Cycle will cross-honor Denver B-Cycle memberships.
-The system will launch in April or May of 2011.
-It will initially include approximately 25 stations and 200 bikes, with provisions for future expansion.
-The initial roll-out will focus on placing stations in downtown Boulder and around the 28th Street retail corridor. No stations are planned for CU or University Hill, at least at first...

Read More Here
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2011, 9:16 PM
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San Antonio's bike share launched last month with 14 stations (according to the media, thought the website's map shows 15) and 140 bikes. The plan is to expand it to 50 stations and 500 bikes within a couple of years, like Denver's is now. From what I can tell here from people I've seen riding and friends who live near downtown, it's already pretty popular. The "B-cycle" website is cool-- you can tell how many bikes are currently at a station and how many open docks. Apparently San Antonio is the first in Texas with a bike-sharing program, which is crazy considering how late-to-the-game we normally are on these kinds of things.

Broward County is coming soon according to their website, along with Madison, Louisville and Honolulu, so 2011 looks to be even bigger for bikesharing then 2010. Anyone know much about other non-B-cycle bike-sharing programs?
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