Friday, March 16, 2012

Bike Sharing Around the World

Well, I just came back from Washington DC and while there I decided to try the Bike Share system and here is the scoop. Great system as far as availability. The bikes are quite heavy, but sturdy, to the point of being dangerous if you hit a pedestrian and you will certainly damage a car if you collide with it with your bike. That said, they come equipped with all the safety features you need: Back lights, bell, reflective tires, plus three gears, basked, adjustable seat. The bikes are clean, good looking and inviting. One little thing I didn't quite like was the pricing scheme.  The ticket dispenser that you see here in this picture tells you that if you want to be a member for one day, you will pay $7 for the membership plus the time you ride if it is more than 30 minutes. Well I though, not as cheap as I thought, but OK I will go ahead and rent one for me and one for my coworker since the system lets you rent two bikes with one credit card.

Then I get home to find out that Capital Bikeshare of Portland charges you $7 per bike while it also puts a $101 dollar security deposit on your bike for a week. If you ride less than 30 minutes, the ride is said to bee free, but it really is not. Riding a bike for less than 30 minutes for $7 is not fee and for the company to keep $101 as a security deposit for a week is not cool either.  That is not to say that I don't applaud the fact that the District of Columbia came to modernity by adopting this bike riding system, this is only to say that the price scheme is not really friendly to the visitor. Now, to be fair, I have to say that I saw a few young fellows coming by my and taking the bikes that I was trying to rent with just shoving a plastic key in the side of the rack to free one of the red bicycles. Some of them even told me that they had a whole year pass that cost them $35 through a coupon/gift from their employer. yoohoo I said. More power to you.  To say the least, the system rocks, even when I don't like their price strategy to squeeze money out of tourists; and since we are on that topic, let me give you something interesting. First, the map of all or most of all the bike-sharing points around the world that I got from the Bike Sharing Blog.

Click on the map you will be able to see almost, if not all the bike-sharing stations around the world. 
The second little nice thing I have here is a website called Bike Share Philadelphia, which has a section with videos of a bunch of bike-sharing sites around the world. 
Between these two, you will be able to gather all the information about bike-sharing that you want. Enjoy and please send me your comments.

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