These are dark times for the old Biketown bikes. Once celebrated, they’ve been relegated to a cold corner of a city-owned storage area. While the new electric-assist bikes gather attention and adoring fans, the 1,000 or so old bikes just gather dust.
While they weren’t integrated into the new system, the old bikes have lots of mileage left in them and it would be a shame (and a PR debacle) if they ended up in a scrap heap. If the City of Portland has their way, the bikes will see action again someday.
Sources say the Portland Bureau of Transportation has ended bike share contract negotiations with Lyft and is now jumping on board with Uber.
PBOT sought bidders for a major bike share system expansion last fall and opted to stay with Lyft, the company that owns Biketown operator Motivate Inc. Portland’s current contract with Lyft ended in April and PBOT had been negotiating an extension of that agreement since December. As The Oregonian reported in January, the plan was to stay with Lyft and complete a seamless transition to a larger service area and launch an all-electric bike share fleet this summer.
That plan appears to have shifted.
A new program offered by Portland’s bike share system gives members and account holders an opportunity to play Santa this holiday season.
A major suburb just a few miles west of downtown Portland wants a dockless bike share system.
The City of Beaverton (population 100,000) has launched an official request for information (RFI) to learn more from companies that, “can provide useful and relevant information on a dockless bike share program.” Bike-share is called out in Beaverton’s 2017 Active Transportation Plan and city planners say it’s a needed weapon in their fight against congestion which is only expected to get worse as the city grows.
Here’s more from the RFI (PDF here):
“Metro anticipates that the Beaverton Regional Center will increase by 4,500 new jobs and 10,000 new residents over the next 25 years. As the City continues to grow, congestion on local roadways will continue to increase. As one way to help reduce or at least moderate congestion, the City is looking to increase multi-modal opportunities for residents to get to work, to transit, and in the case of walking and biking, as a general form of mobility and recreation.”
The Oregonian reported Tuesday that about 450 new keypads are on their way to Biketown bikes in the coming months.
This will be music to the ears of many of you as we’ve heard numerous complaints about unresponsive keypads for months now. Unlike older kiosk-based systems, the “smart” Biketown bikes the keypads are built into the rear rack. Users must enter a PIN and/or a six-digit rental code to unlock a bike. With over two years of wear-and-tear, many of the keypads simply don’t work anymore. You press the button and either nothing happens or there’s a frustratingly long delay.
Just over a month ago, I ran into this problem when I tried to rent a bike to get home from downtown after a meeting. There weren’t many bikes available and I tried the keypads on two before I gave up. I eventually tracked down an e-scooter and got home.
The next morning I contacted Biketown’s operator Motivate Inc. and asked General Manager Dorothy Mitchell about the problem. Biketown Marketing Manager Tom Rousculp blamed the problem on their vendor, Jump Bikes (formerly Social Bicycles). He said they’d been, “experiencing connectivity issues, including a system-wide outage over the past week that resulted in a number of unresponsive bikes.”
Here’s more from The Oregonian: [Read more…]
Two private bike share companies have set up tiny pilot programs to help Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) cope with a five-week closure of the Aerial Tram.
The City of Portland has launched a novel promotion to boost Biketown ridership next month: It’s completely free.
To celebrate National Bike Month, the bureau of transportation announced today that new and existing Biketown riders can use the bright orange bikes for up to 90 minutes without being charged. Annual members who’ve already paid will get a promo code worth $12 (the monthly price). Better yet, the free promotion extends to the system’s Adaptive Biketown program, and the Biketown for All program, which offers disounted memberships to people living on low-incomes.
But wait! There’s more! During the month of May, the entire Biketown service area will become a “super hub zone.” That is, you’ll be able to park the bikes anywhere without incurring a fee. This aspect of the promotion is also a way for the City of Portland to highlight the dockless capabilities of the system — at a moment when they’re feeling pressure from private firms who want to release dockless scooters and bikes in Portland.