Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board General Discussion › bike share program

bike share program

user 5080989
Portland, ME
Post #: 5
i think it would be so amazing to have a bike share program in portland! (think zipcar, or ushare car, but for bikes.) no more begging for bikes when out-of-town guests come to visit, and how many tourists would love to tool around the old port on a cruiser, rather mess with parking?

you and all your friends can go to this site and plead for B Cycles to start up here.

(btw, i have zero affiliation with this company. heard about this through the League of American Bicyclists, and i really just want there to be more bikes and more cyclists. i think that low-committment rentals would be a phenomenal place to start!)
user 5080989
Portland, ME
Post #: 6
trying that link again:
john b.
Portland, ME
Post #: 24
This has been tried numerous times over many decades in this town only to be met with rampant theft. A commendable idea, but, a lot of Portlanders are broke asses that will steal anything that isn't nailed to the floor. A better idea: a federally funded bike kitchen that makes cycling and it's inherent everyday maintenance costs accessible to all income levels. Multiple states in the union have federally supported bike kitchens, why not our little hub of Portland, Maine.
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 461
Boston is starting up a new bike share program. Maybe if it works out there the company will look north.


Montreal’s Bixi Bike program has seen little theft, as the bikes are constructed with parts that cannot be used on normal bicycles, making stripping them useless. Also, Bixi bikes are strange looking, and even if you spray paint it gold, it will still look like a Bixi. The biggest deterrent to theft, though, is probably the fact that the company had your credit-card information.

A former member
Post #: 1
This is Ramona from Cityryde. We are a Bike Sharing consultant located in Philadelphia.
I had come across the online discussion about bike sharing in Portland and I think it is a pretty good idea. As bike sharing has started up in Denver, Boston and some Universities.

To give you a brief about us. We assist our clients with every step of Bike Sharing and have also worked on many bike sharing project for college campuses, around the city and many others. We also provide software products like Spark and Inspire. Spark is the world’s first off-the-shelf bike sharing management software. Inspire will bring in much needed additional revenue streams for your bike sharing implementation through the sale of carbon credits. For more information you can visit http://www.sparkmobil...­. and http://www.inspiremob...­ .

You can also visit our website which is www.cityryde.com

Sign up for our newsletters and get updated with information about bike share.

You can take this idea to the next level and we will help you out in it. You can may be put this idea in front of the biking community or the Portland Bicycle Maine Community and it will get a start from there

Have a nice Day
john b.
Portland, ME
Post #: 27
Any bike shop rents bikes, by the way; for cash, of course, and with some kind of collateral. Do these bike share programs not require either of these? Am I confusing bike share with the many times ill-fated "white bike" program? The Bixie theft deterrent aspects sound very interesting (maybe even a little genius), at any rate. Sounds more like something Amsterdam implements, or maybe Manhattan in one or two areas rather than Portland, ME.
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 462
I think most of these commercial bike shares set up kiosks all over the city - this way you can just grab a bike from wherever and return it near your destination, eliminating the need to go to the bike shop for pickup and return. Less planning in advance and more flexibility. I think most of them put you on some sort of payment plan ahead of time, thus getting your info, which is a good theft deterrent.
A former member
Post #: 858
I just got back from a weekend trip to Montreal with my family. The BIXI bike share program was substantial. There were kiosks located throughout the city. I saw many people riding the bikes all over the place.

I read an article that said that Quebec subsidizes the system because it is not self-sustaining, which is a shame.

I would think if a city as large (and bike friendly) as Montreal can't support the system, it would be even more difficult in Portland.

Either way, I was happy to see the system!
Lincoln P.
user 12657385
Portland, ME
Post #: 53
There is a big rental bike rack outside of Boston's South Station. When I was there a month ago, on a Saturday. The payment scheme seemed eminently reasonable and if I hadn't been visiting Boston by car I would have certainly tried one out, if only so I could lost twice as fast as I do when I walk through Boston. I saw a similar set up in downtown Denver last fall.

The economics do seem to be troubling, at least from what I've heard. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine with the US-China Business Council in Beijing got a request for information on Chinese bike rental companies from someone interested in doing this in Portland. His Chinese researcher looked into it and discovered that not one of the Chinese bike rental companies has managed to avoid going bust. In Beijing. Where everyone rides bikes.

There's nothing wrong with subsidies, but I think there are better ways to promote bicycling in Portland, especially with more bike racks placed more obviously. Some obvious places where they are missing are Monument Square, Canal Plaza, the Rite Aid strip mall at India and Congress. The list is endless.

Someone should also look into making a connection through the fence between the Trader Joe's/Maine Rock Gym parking lot and the trail, which would make it safer for bikes than forcing them onto Marginal Way and through the parking lot. (TJ also needs a bigger bike rack.)

Bike shops should also do a better job of advertising their bike rentals if they do in fact have them. I've never noticed information about them, and no bike shop has ever suggested that I could rent a bike while bike was in the shop, for instance (a loaner would be nice, too). I had no idea -- and if that is the case I would ease up on the deferred maintenance.

Andrew J.
user 14419954
Harpswell, ME
Post #: 3
I was about to start a whole new discussion and luckily I found that this has already been discussed for quite some time! I have been involved in public transit advocacy for the past decade or so and have come across bikesharing projects all over the world in many different forms. I have always been interested in implementing something similar here in Maine but could never really figure out how to do it.... Until recently!
From what I can gather, previous attempts at implementing this system in Portland and Brunswick failed because they had no system to prevent theft and vandalism. As others have pointed out in this thread, this problem has been successfully addressed with the addition of high tech, membership based systems like the Velib/Velo system in France and successfully implemented in Washington D.Cs Capital Bikeshare, Boston's Hubway and Montreal's Bixi system which now has over 5,000 bicycles. These systems work by setting up "bike stations" in strategic locations (such as at MBTA stations in Boston) around a designated area in the city. The bike stations have identical bicycles in mechanical bike racks that can be released through an accompanied payment kiosk where members swipe their cards or pay by the hour. Of course, this model is very capital intensive and requires significant capital to implement. Something that a small city like Portland simply doesn't have. Another recent innovation was explored in the most recent PorMe BikeShare campaign (which I hope is still active, if so it would be appreciated if participants could contact me asap!) From what I've been able to read it seems to have been based on a new concept pioneered by NYC based SoBi "Social Bicycles" and Atlanta based viacycle which use mobile apps to track the bicycles via GPS locators on the bike itself. This seemed very promising for a small city like Portland in that it avoids the high capital costs of bigger systems like Hubway but still keeps track of the bicycles to prevent theft and vandalism. It also makes it possible to pick up and leave the bicycle anywhere. This last feature is a huge asset if use is limited to a small densely populated area. Unfortunately, if implemented in Portland, this concept would only really work within Portland itself. And most feasibility studies usually conclude that the population density of Portland alone barely qualifies as a city at all. This is why planners usually count everywhere from Biddeford to Brunswick as the "greater Portland region". So what we really need is a regional bikeshare.
Based on the research I have done over the past year concerning regional transit connections I believe the same technologies we are developing for transit can also be applied to the bike-sharing concept. We have found the formula for civic planning success in Maine to be roughly 1/3 technology and 2/3 local partnerships. In this case the scale of collaboration necessary would be significantly less than that of say the Brunswick Explorer local transit system. There are any number of ways to approach this from the point of view of partnerships but the key game charger will be in the technology... I don't want to give away all the details at once, but if anybody is interested in pursuing this project further feel free to contact me via my profile data.

Thank You Very Much,
Andrew Jawitz
CarFree Maine
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