bike share is coming
The PG analyzes the Healthy Ride data:
A reasonable analysis, except for the ultra-strict definition of uphill/downhill trips. I would not consider a trip between Steel Plaza and Carson St as a “downhill” trip. That may be considered downhill in central Indiana. Around these parts, that’s flat :-)
Radio story on PRI this evening about bike share in Seattle.
Bike share is huge in Chinese cities, with 16 million bikeshare bikes, nationwide. It’s reducing congestion and smog and promoting exercise. “But their popularity has been accompanied by a wave of misbehavior. Because the start-ups do not use fixed docking stations, riders abandon bicycles haphazardly along streets and public squares, snarling traffic and cluttering sidewalks.”
Shanghai now has one bike share bicycle for every 16 people. Compare Pittsburgh, which has one for every 600 people. Pittsburgh needs a lot more bikes!
Baltimore is having a problem with its bike share bikes being stolen from the stations. Apparently you can get them out just by rocking them back and forth enough.
Healthy Ride is having a press conference at market square at 3:30 today to announce unlimited free 15 minute rentals for everybody who uses a connectcard
Dockless bikeshare is so popular in some Chinese cities that car use has dropped 10%. The number of taxis in Beijing has dropped noticeably, some people report.
More on the Healthy Ride/ConnectCard deal here:
This is fantastic. I really hope it works out well.
Has anybody been able to successfully use the free 15 minute ride with ConnectCard feature? I tried today and had… mixed results.
I went to sign up at the Liberty & Stanwix location, but tapping my ConnectCard to the scanner thing did nothing. So, I walked over the Market Square. That scanner DID read my ConnectCard, and I started to follow the on-screen instructions to link my HealthyRide account to my ConnectCard account. Unfortunately, I mis-typed my PIN, and there was no option to delete what I had just typed. So, I canceled the process and went to start over. However, this time, the scanner would not read my ConnectCard, no matter how many times I pressed it to the scanner.
I called customer service and they linked my accounts without needing the station. This was… far easier. I’m not sure why the HealthyRide website doesn’t just list this as Option 1, or at least an option.
Anyways, once my accounts were linked, I went to use a bike. I tapped my ConnectCard card to a bike and… got a “BIKE NOT AVAILABLE” message. I went down the line and bike after bike gave me the same message. As did a couple bikes at the Liberty & Stanwix station. At that point, I gave up and called customer service again, who processed the rental easily.
A couple hours later, I tried again. Still got “BIKE NOT AVAILABLE” on the first bike I tried, but the second bike gave me a different error: “COMMUNICATION ERROR”. I then gave up and walked to my destination.
[mini-rant: I love the idea of the bike share and really want to support it, and the customer service people are really great, but I’m fairly tech-savvy and bike-savvy and I have had loads of difficulty, some of it bordering on Kafkaesque, in using the service and managing, from pretty much Day 1. The most irritating of my experiences, in which I couldn’t log in and couldn’t get my PIN reset, was due to my phone number being in their system without the country code. Which is a bizarre problem to have.]
FYI. I also had some mixed results. But I’m optimistic. But there is definitely a learning process for Healthy Ride and riders.
I emailed and asked healthy ride whether I could just use the phone app after linking my accounts and still get free rides because it was confusing to use the card on the bike, they said yes, that’s fine to use the phone app and you’ll still get the first 15 free once your accounts are linked.
I had no problem my first ride, the second with the connect card gave me the communication error issue when returning the bike. You should report that to healthy ride if possible so they can be aware of the issue (mention the bike number).
Can you purchase a connect card at a place like Giant Eagle with $0 value?
I don’t think so. I think you need to put at least some value on it. I’d start with $10. That’s two daily round trips, a reasonable “starter kit” for the thing. Once you have it, you can add any other fare product to it, or not use it at all. I think, under my annual pass, I still have about $20 in cash-equivalent.
I have as yet to try hooking my card to the bike-share system, though I should give it a try. I like the system, but between the bus pass and my own bike, I rarely have reason to use it.
I did not realize you could just use the phone app and still get the 15 minute free rides. That probably solves my issue of the ConnectCard not unlocking the bike. I’ve never had problems using the app. Thanks for the tip!
As for the usefulness of the bike share program in general… I do tend to agree that its usefulness is fairly limited for most residents. I have to get from Point A to Point B downtown fairly often, and the walk ends up taking as much time or even less time than renting the bike, docking it, and then walking to your final destination. But it’s more fun, that’s for sure! For anything longer, there are certainly more convenient forms of transportation available. I’m guessing that tourists love them, though.
I see a surprising amount of people who go down to the north shore, rent bikes for everyone, and then go tooling up and down the north shore trail.
Not sure if renting a better bike from a place like golden triangle is cheaper, but the bike share ones are quite popular.
I have a friend in chicago who uses bike share as part of her commute. She is close to the red line CTA, but her stop is always super crowded, so she rides to a less crowded line. Interesting use of the bike share.
This article gives a good overview of the state of dockless bike share.
1. While some have condemned it for the mess it can make of sidewalks, others say it’s here to stay: “I asked David Levinson, a professor of transportation at the University of Sydney, whether dock-less bike share was a VC-funded bubble or the future of short-distance transportation. “Yes,” he wrote back. “It’s like the internet in 1999.””
2. So many bicycles! Shanghai has 1.5 million shared bicycles, or one for every 16 residents. Xiamen has one dockless shared bicycle for every 11 residents. If Metro Pittsburgh were to adopt bike share at a proportional level, we’d need 200,000 bicycles. Sounds about right. :-)
3. Fewer cars. “Mobike claimed in May that its bikes had doubled the percentage of Chinese biking to work in selected cities, taking the share of bicycle commuters to more than 11 percent. The other major operator, Ofo, has drawn investments from e-commerce giant Alibaba and Didi, China’s version of Uber, as the company’s 2 billion 2017 bike-share trips started to eat into the short-distance ride-hailing market.”
4. American cities are more sprawled than Chinese cities.
5. Docks probably won’t become obsolete. “Even if the free-floating bikes could rival established systems for reliability, Dossett said, he foresaw a coming use for those docks: securing and charging electric bicycles, which many bicycle professionals believe are—after dock-less bikes—the next big thing.”
Expansion includes Squirrel Hill:
Kind of bummed that point breeze business district was left out of the expansion. Squirrel Hill North along Wilkins also looks like a dead zone as well.
Looks like a redundant station in station square. I think 3 instead of 4 stations would be better there (suggest removing the Highmark stadium station as there is another planned very close by anyway.
Love the extra Oakland stations. It was hard to use in Oakland before, the locations didn’t make a lot of sense. Shouldn’t have stations that direct you on to 5th / Forbes without a good safe route to divert to. With the new bike lanes on Forbes, the Craig st stations really make Sense. I could see a lot of students using healthy ride after the expansion. I rarely see healthy rides being used around Oakland now. Wish there was a station at the bottom of Joncaire though (there is one station planned on the other side of junction hollow in the run). I really wouldn’t want to ride one of those bikes up to Oakland, but would park and take the improved Joncaire steps (when they are done).
Go submit your comments on the proposed expansion at healthy ride’s site!
There are still no stations planned for the South Hills (Carrick, Beechview, Mt. Washington, Allentown, and Brookline), West End, Hazelwood, or any inner-ring suburb.
HealthyRide is in the middle of a series of meetings about their big expansion. They’re having a meeting in Squirrel Hill this week:
Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition / Thursday, April 12, 6:30pm / Jewish Community Center / 5738 Forbes Ave.
More meetings listed here: https://healthyridepgh.com/expansion/
Triblive article about the expansion:
Millvale Riverfront Park is a likely candidate for 2019 expansion.
I think healthy ride is avoiding setting foot outside the city itself, ie milvlale. My guess is that they’d have to negotiate with every municipality they are a station in and that may mean they have to pay every separate municipality.
Dockless electric scooters are popular, but controversial, in Santa Monica, San Francisco, and Washington DC. There are several companies. “Bird” scooters cost $1 plus $.15 per minute, for rental, and can go up to 15mph. The company urges riders to wear a helmet and never ride on the sidewalk. The scooters get charged at night. The rental agreement says the maximum load is 200 lbs, and the scooters are not allowed on unpaved roads. Somehow the NY Times managed to write an article about dockless electric scooters without mentioning bike share.
What’s even more amazing is the ability of these companies to pass on the cost of externalities to the public. I read about how they’re charged- they pay people about $5 a scooter to find them, take them home, charge them, and return them to the street.
<p style=”padding-left: 30px;”>I think healthy ride is avoiding setting foot outside the city itself, ie milvlale.</p>
This is true (from a presentation at the Squirrel Hill Bike-Ped group) but there reason is distance. They aren’t close enough, yet.
Not bike share… Electric Scooter-share coming to PGH.
this makes me feel some sorta way…
…like how i’m going to feel when someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing (or, does know wrhat they’re doing) decides to ride this in a bike lane or on a trail somewhere…
unless this is the scoobi they’re talking about (attention intellectual property lawyers!)
I haven’t found all the bits of PA law that might apply, but there seems to be a reasonable summary at http://www.motorizedbicyclehq.com/motorized-bicycle-laws-pennsylvania/
- Electric bikes have motor less than 750 watts and top speed of 20mph or less. You don’t need a drivers license to operate on public roads, you must be older than 16yo.
- Most trails only allow “pedal assist” e-bikes. That is, the electric can supplement the pedaling, but if you can run the bike on throttle without pedaling it’s not allowed. Trails at this point should be more assertive about explaining this
- Mopeds must have both pedals an motor, top speed 25mph, no more than 5 brake horsepower. You need class C drivers license to operate on public roads.
- (now, what you’ve been waiting for) … Scooters are motor-driven cycles, limited to 5 brake hp. You need class M drivers license (motorcycle endorsement), must use eye protection, helmet if under 21yo. No top speed mentioned, but #3 implies 25mph
- If it exceeds specs above, it’s a motorcycle. Class M license required, plus other stuff.
The article cited above says “The scooters will travel up to 30 miles per hour with a range of up to 34 miles per charge and can be ridden by any person with a standard Class C driver’s license”
Based on this, it looks to me like 35mph scooters are motorcycles. They certainly do not belong on trails, let alone sidewalks. From the article above and everything else I know or suspect, a motorcycle license should be required. It isn’t going to bother me, I’ve had an M license for a very long time. But IANAL.
So, BikePgh, are you communicating with the city about this? For that matter, did Scoobi even consult the city, or are they pulling an Uber and deploying them first, asking permission later?
Dockless vs docked bike share in 2017.
BikeSnobNYC wrote a good article on the benefits of bike share, and dispels the idea of “litter bikes”:
Forget litter bikes: What about litter cars? There are entire cars, bits of cars, and all matter of automotive sundries strewn all over the landscape, regardless of where you live. Our road shoulders are full of disembodied bumpers and wayward wheel covers. Our embankments are strewn with illegally dumped car tires. Our streets are stained with oil that runs off into the waterways. Not only do the cars themselves spew pollutants from their tailpipes, but their occupants eject all manner of garbage from the windows, including entire bags of fast food containers. …
Litter bikes, really? Please. Cars hog so much space that we’re forced to share our precious sidewalks with literal trash.
HealthyRide is now up to 100 stations, and 700 bikes (only about 400 bikes in circulation during the cold months, though). They’ve expanded into Homewood, Larimer, and Squirrel Hill.
I’ve already used a couple of these new stations. The Liberty/7Ave one is an ideal location.
I’m looking forward to Forbes & Murray, and to the Eliza Furnace Trail at Swinburne. Both are on their planned-stations map.
Do they say where the Forbes and Murray one will be? My guess is either Forbes toward the JCC or Murray by the library…
Pittsburgh to offer a variety of alternative mobility options at central locations
“Pittsburgh is working with a new consortium that includes providers of electric scooters, electric bikes, rental cars and car pools to provide more mobility options, especially to and from public transit.
But the city also is taking an extra step to make sure those mobility options will be available in all neighborhoods.
The city announced Wednesday it has selected the Pittsburgh Mobility Collective — a consortium led by electric bike and scooter provider Spin that also includes the Transit app, Zipcar, Ford Mobility, Waze and Swiftmile — to provide the services. They responded to the city’s request for proposals by joining forces for a joint submission that will include a series of stations throughout the city that will offer most of the services at each location…”
My two cents, added as a comment on the PG article:
The real question to ask is, what would it take to make a car unnecessary? Some 25% of city residents don’t have one, so how about the rest, city resident or not? I worked downtown five years, commuting 10 miles in, and never once drove there and parked all day. So, what would it take for others to do likewise? Better transit, yes, but once in town, the services suggested here would greatly help, especially with point-to-point travel, which transit doesn’t do. Sure we could continually dropping trillions of dollars on ever more asphalt, but what’s proposed here can be dropped in place and put to use almost instantly.
The only thing that has ever been shown to reduce car use in cities is congestion pricing. So that’s your answer. Charge to drive your car into downtown.
It’s not just downtown, though. Think of your other congested areas: East Carson, Baum Blvd, any part of Fifth or Forbes or Penn outside of downtown. Lots of bike-friendly infra, but damned intimidating for a lot of people to bike. The only real solution is to remove car traffic, however you get there.
I’ve been saying since the 1990s that the financial incentives are already there, but people simply do not care enough to tackle the learning curve. This will help.
I should also say that you’re correct — removing space for cars = more space for bikes and peds. That is also very much supported in the literature. But it’s one of the two options. ain’t nothing else works. Increasing public transportation gets people to use more public transportation but then also opens up the roads which incentivizes people to use it. It’s just the same as widening a road to carry more traffic.
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