Thursday, July 12, 2007

NYC bike share experiment

Imagine walking to a sidewalk corner and finding a public bicycle. With a cellphone call or swipe of a card, you unlock it from its bike rack and ride it across town. Once at your destination, you steer to the closest bike rack and, with one more call or card swipe, return the bike to the public network. You pay less than $.50 for the trip, and the bike is once again available for the taking.
That's the vision of the New York Bike Share Project, an experiment in free bikes that ended yesterday. Twenty bicycles were available for free 30-minute rentals between Storefront for Art and Architecture and a roving, remote location.

New York City transportation officials are watching the program. “We are studying it with interest,” said Molly Gordy, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Transportation. “The big questions for us are how to combat theft and vandalism, which are two problems prevalent in New York.”

Fast Company has their take on this program:
While the benefits of such a program are self-evident, the feasibility (and likelihood) is less clear. New York abounds with bikers, but the cultural attitude towards them is not necessarily positive. Some of this is, of course, derived from riders who stubbornly refuse to follow traffic laws (sometimes out of defiance, sometimes just stupidity), but a large part of it must be attributed to the city's apparent desire to actively combat cyclists instead of working with them (as the new parade regulations and recent Critical Mass rides have illustrated).
Hat tip to Paul in Denver. See also:

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