(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
As promised, the City of Portland just released its official Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an operator of the Portland Bike Share system. The 54 page document lays out all the details of the system envisioned by the City. Bids on the project are due on May 25th and the City is expected to choose a vendor shortly thereafter. The system itself, the RFP says, is should be fully operational by April 2013 with a possible test of the system by this fall.
Let’s look at some of the interesting bits in the RFP…
Here’s how PBOT introduces the system:
Portland envisions implementing the most popular and highly utilized bike sharing system in the United States; one that catalyzes investment in public spaces and provides a low cost transportation solution for thousands of system users. Bike sharing stations should serve as a basis for place-making in the city, and applications that directly couple bike share stations with other uniquely “Portland” public benefits such as distribution of bicycle maps, provision of local food or drinks, bicycle helmet sales, ATMs or other enterprises that enhance the public space around bike share stations are highly encouraged.
Under a list of specific goals for the new system, the City says they want it to provide an “immediate increase” in the number of bike trips and “bring new people to bicycling by reducing financial barriers to bicycling as transportation.” They also cite ways the system should strengthen the local economy by creating jobs, and leaving more money in user’s pockets by reducing transportation costs that they will then spend locally. Another goal listed is to provide a transportation choice that’s, “complementary to transit service for underserved populations.”
Under the terms laid out in the RFP, the successful bidder will come up with work with the City on rental station locations and must come up with a full-fledged marketing, branding, and promotional plan (including a social media strategy).
When it comes to payment systems, “with the intent of maximizing ridership and net revenue and low income patron access,” the winning bidder must show at least two pricing models and the pricing system must be integrated into existing transit and parking system.
The RFP calls for a proposals that will cover five years of system operation and stipulates that the chosen vendor must adhere to all federal reporting standards as it spends the $1.8 million set aside for the project.
Since the federal funds can only be used to buy the bikes, station equipment, and other hard infrastructure, the vendor must figure out a way to fund the ongoing operational costs. Due to what they referred to as “legal and social constraints” the proposals cannot include any paid advertising in the public right of way. However, given that a private sponsor is expected to come on board, their logo and messaging could be placed on the bicycles, kiosks, receipts, and on the official system web site.
Among the information the bidders must provide is a requirement to, “Describe your plan to provide helmets for bike sharing users” and “Describe how the proposal could take advantage or specifically increase the capacity and employment of Portland’s bicycle building industry.”
Bike share is coming folks. It will be interesting to see who applies and of course, who ends up winning the contract.
One last note, since the PDX Bike Share website was launched on Monday, PBOT reports that over 1,100 station locations have been submitted.