Friday, February 16, 2007

San Francisco to require bike rentals at bus shelters

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is taking bids to build 1,500 bus shelters. A unique requirement for the bids: Up to 20 of the shelters must have facilities for a new bicycle-sharing program the city is considering. From the Chronicle:

The bicycles would be part of San Francisco's effort to become the first major U.S. city with a government-backed bike-sharing program, something that has caught on in Europe.

For years, San Francisco has had a transit-first policy intended to discourage commuters from driving to work. That's resulted in fewer parking garages, higher parking fees and fines, and new bicycle lanes on scores of streets.

Now comes the next step -- making bikes plentiful and accessible, and available on the same up-front fee model as the city's car-sharing program.

San Francisco resident Jim Greer compares this idea with ZipCar and brings up some good points:

Most people use the bus to commute. So all the bikes would be needed at the same time and place. And if you live close enough to a bus stop for this to be convenient, you’re less likely to need a bike anyway.

Cars are expensive and take up a lot of space. Bikes are cheap and don’t take up a lot of space. So having an elaborate system to rent them and track who’s using one seems pointless.

But then he read about a similar bike rental system in Lyons, in which he learned that 22,000 bike rentals occur daily. "I think something like this could work in SF," Jim concludes.

Jim, by the way, is a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and a member of ZipCar. He also owns Kongregate, an online gaming portal with Web 2.0 community features. Think of it as a Flickr or YouTube for video games.


  1. Oh those SanFran happy campers are at it again, eh?

    I am just trying to get Tulsa Transit to re-design the bus shelters to protect patrons, NOT the landscaping.

    Most bus shelters expose waiting patrons to traffic noise, spray from tires slicing through curb-side water, and other unplesantries from moving traffic.

    King County Transit, WA has a nifty idea: rotate the conventional bus shelter 180 degrees. DUH. What will they think of next?

  2. I believe that Toronto has a similar program of bike share as you will find a small reference to in this post from Lauren's site.

  3. I'll add this -- sad press about the Toronto Bike Share program.

  4. Yep. Looks good on paper. But, if the market rejects it, it's TOAST. Say, how about try bike parking at the bus shelters?