Starting a bike share program involves many steps. Depending on the jurisdiction, it can include a number of decisions, including the governance structure, funding, and operations. Each community will have a unique model. The most common models involve either public or private ownership.
Bike share systems are funded through philanthropic contributions, sponsorships, and user revenues. It is important to determine how much money your system will cost before deciding on an operating model. Typically, implementation costs are divided into startup and capital costs. Startup costs include equipment and administrative resources, as well as marketing. Typical operating costs for a system can range from $100 to $200 per bicycle.
Operating costs vary depending on how the bike is operated. Some schemes require an initial monetary deposit, while others charge users after the first half hour. Systems requiring a deposit may also need to provide security to protect against theft. In addition, some systems require a permanent mobile data connection to work. Many systems operate through a partnership between a private operator and a non-profit organization. These organizations often have minimal standards for financial performance.
Having a bike sharing program can be an effective way to improve access to transit for urban areas. However, it also comes with its own pitfalls. First, it is a costly investment. This is especially true for larger schemes with hundreds of bikes. Moreover, it can be difficult to build up a service network quickly.
As a result, many cities are seeking partnerships with companies that offer bike share services. They hope to leverage the system’s popularity to achieve a public good. Currently, there are dozens of schemes in the U.S., and more are popping up every year.
Generally, the most popular type of bike share program is publically owned. A government agency is responsible for the procurement, management, and oversight of the program. This includes contracts with service providers and the provision of maintenance and repair. Governments can support a bike share system in a variety of ways, but the most common are those that are funded through federal, state, or city funds. Other schemes are privately sponsored and operated.
For example, the Delaware Transit Corporation has an active presence across the state. They manage a third party operator for their bus fleet, and the company has the ability to obtain funding through State and Federal Funds. Another example is the bike sharing program in Washington, D.C., which is funded through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.
While the operation of a shared bicycle system is relatively simple, there are some steps you must take to ensure you get off on the right foot. You can begin by checking your tires, adjusting your seat height, and ensuring your helmet fits properly. When you’re ready to unlock a bike, you can do so using the app. If you’re using a chip card, make sure you have the appropriate card.
Most systems have some sort of registration process. Some systems even have user accounts. Choosing a model for your system can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider, including the location, political environment, stakeholder interest, and the program’s strategic goals.