First World Problems

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TheLivingTed
Participant
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TheLivingTed
Participant
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rsprake
Participant
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Heh. Too be fair, for the system to work there has to be availability. Rome’s system seemed to have a similar issue. I noticed a lot of empty racks and the racks that did have bikes had quite a few that were destroyed and unridable.


Lyle
Participant
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It’s a failure because too many people are using it.

I would expect the Economist to propose a pricing solution. Providing some rebates on withdrawals from nearly-full racks and returns to nearly-empty racks might be enough to encourage reverse flow. Make the rebates high enough and some enterprising soul might even move your bikes around for you in order to earn a little extra dosh and get some exercise in the bargain. It would be a fine use for Edmonds’ bike transporter.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I find it hard to believe this is a problem without a solution. Rental of cars, vans, etc., have been going on for decades, and this hasn’t been a publicly known issue. Do they just need more racks, and bikes? Do they just need someone on staff to haul bikes around?

From my reading of it, the bigger problem is not enough racks, not not enough bikes.


edmonds59
Participant
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Sounds a little bit like Yogi Berra’s restaurant that “nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded”.

Seems like they underestimated the usage, and just need to tweak the system to accomodate more. Although from the pattern the writer describes, with all the bikes at one location in the morning and another location during the day, it also sounds like a lot of people who are using the system should probably just own bikes. And maybe using the system will actually encourage that. That would sort of self-adjust the system.

If the problem persists I might have to move to London and shuttle bikes around.


sarapgh2
Participant
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I remember watching a show on Velib, the bike hire program in Paris, and how difficult it was to make it work. The issue is getting bikes distributed correctly (they use barges and vans to constantly move bikes around). They found often that where there are hills, for example, all the bikes would be found at one end (i think at the top but i could be wrong) and never the other. Basically, they were consistently being used only in one direction for topographical/convenience reasons. It sounds like this is the same issue in London (maybe not because of hills, but other factors). The infrastructure needed to make bike hires successful in any sense is actually very complex apparently.


nick
Participant
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i think car & truck rental places offer discounts if you are going to a destination they want to move a vehicle to. it would be complex, but it might work with the bike scheme. for instance: off-peak discounts and riding up a big hill discount.


Lyle
Participant
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I bet a lot of people would hire a bike in Bloomfield, ride in to work, and then at the end of the day say “screw it, I don’t feel like riding up that hill to go home” and take the bus instead.


quizbot
Participant
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In Paris, I believe you earn credit on your account for taking a Velib bike up hills (Montmartre stations).


dwillen
Participant
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I thought they also have trucks that drive around at night redistributing bikes, don’t they?


Pierce
Participant
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Aye, they do Dan. 25 minute show about the system in Paris:

http://video.pbs.org/video/1362888236/


rsprake
Participant
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That’s a rad video. Interesting that even in a beautiful city like Paris expensive gas isn’t enough for people to give up driving. You need to change the streets and the culture.


scott
Keymaster
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Most likely working out the kinks. Sounds like balancing the system takes a bit of effort: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2011/04/14/bikesharing-is-bikecaring/


rsprake
Participant
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This is pretty cool. So Bakery Square could have payed for a station as part of their construction.

At $50,000 a pop—which covers the station, the solar setup, and the bikes—it’s not a lot for a builder to pay for an amenity that can help sell a new condo or office complex.

Capital Bike Share is the most widely used system I have seen yet, used by both tourists and locals.


TheLivingTed
Participant
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it would be really tempting not to ghost ride one of those bikes down mt. washington.


edmonds59
Participant
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…except that they have all your contact information when you sign one out. So if you would just like to buy one…

That repair barge is awesome. If 30 years ago I had found out that I could be a Velib mechanic on a barge on the Seine, things might be much different.

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