Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 29th, 2009 at 11:56 am
Five companies interested in partnering with the City of Portland to implement a bike-sharing system have responded to a call for proposals to take part in a demonstration event in mid-August. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe is reporting that the City of Boston will implement, “the nation’s first citywide bike-sharing system” with hundreds of bicycles at dozens of stations.
As we reported last month, the City is planning two events in August (14th and 16th) to garner feedback from the public about what type of system they might like to see in place someday in Portland.
The companies hail from all over North America and one of them is local. According to documents released by the Bureau of Purchasing and the manager of the project for PBOT, Steve Hoyt-McBeth, the companies slated to participate are:
- Portland Bicycle Tours – Locally based Portland Bicycle Tours is owned and operated by Evan Ross. They currently offer a variety of guided bike tours and bike rentals.
- Bcycle – Bcycle is the new bike-sharing company created from a partnership between Humana (a Louisville, KY health care company), Trek Bicycle Corporation, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky (a major ad agency).
- Schweers Technologies, Inc. — According to their website, this global firm, with U.S. offices in New Jersey, specializes in mobile computers and “parking enforcement solutions”.
- The Bike Share Group – The Bike Share Group is from Seattle, Washington. I’m awaiting more information about them.
- Public Bike System Company – Based in Quebec, Canada, this company is behind the Bixi bike-sharing system launched in Montreal in September 2008. That system was built from the ground up, has won several awards, and with 3,000 bikes and 300 stations, it is largest bike sharing system in North America.
At least one potential bike-sharing vendor, Bill Burton of Arcata, California-based Library Bikes, said he won’t be showing up because the City wasn’t will to reimburse any expenses. After being personally invited to the event by PBOT’s Hoyt-McBeth, Burton declined, saying that he spent about $40,000 preparing for Portland’s previous Request for Proposals that was scrapped back in June 2008 without any decisions being made.
Burton owns a fleet of bikes previously used in Lyon, France’s public bike system. In an email to Hoyt-McBeth, Burton wrote that it’s “too bad” he won’t attend because those bikes are still being stored in Portland. Burton contends that a request for only volunteer participants, will result in a “marketing white wash” and than if the City wants more experienced operators they should be willing to pay vendors.
The Portland Mercury weighed in the City’s latest bike sharing plans in last week’s issue. They reported that PBOT is planning to deploy 660 bikes for a total start-up cost of $2.64 million (based on an estimated $4,000 per bike).
That number raised eyebrows, but Hoyt-McBeth told us the 660 number is nothing more than a “back-of-the-envelope approximation” based on having docking stations every five blocks (similar to Paris’ successful Velib’ system). Hoyt-McBeth added that, “we don’t know what the size or scale of a program would be.”
The Friday, August 14th event will be at the Pavilion on Waterfront Park (almost under the Burnside Bridge). That following Sunday (8/16), the demonstration will take place at the Sunday Parkways Southeast event.
— For previous coverage of this topic, browse our Bike-sharing System story archives.