April 26, 2011

"New deal for bike-sharing program would cost city $1 per year."

Score 1 for Soglin.

(I complained about the original deal, back here.)

56 comments:

Original Mike said...

"Soglin announced that the program would cost the city $1 per year rather than the original $100,000"

Now we're talkin'.

AJ Lynch said...

Even a librul Dem can see the light when everywhere he looks there is nothing but govt red ink.

edutcher said...

Score one for fiscal responsibility.

PS "gentlepersons' agreement"?

Oy.

Coketown said...

I was in Denver a few weeks ago and saw some bike-sharing stations.

They were all full.

Everyone was walking or on a bus.

Anecdotal evidence is still evidence!

cahlmeeishmael said...

San Antonio, Texas got the program with just a one-time payment. There was no need for an annual one.

Of course, our one-time payment was . . . . . . . . . . $500,000.

For what we paid, we could have locked in Madison's deal for 500 millenia.

Pogo said...

Bike sharing???

Does no one ever read about the Tragedy of the Commons in school?

Maybe someone could ride one of the shared bikes to a university nearby and ask.

Original Mike said...

Which is why I'm a lot more comfortable with $1, Pogo.

rhhardin said...

I used to bike around NYC, when I was the only one doing it.

It's strikingly fast.

Even NYC motorists are courteous if you're the only bicycle they've seen.

That is why bicycling ought to be discouraged everywhere, so that I'm the only one.

Aheitman said...

We have one in DC and it works incredibly well. They are expanding the stations and with a living social deal, had a recent membership boom.

Even in a city that is notoriously hot, muggy, and hilly- this program has done surprisingly well. I laughed at the first station as I drove by in the morning...now, well, they are relatively empty and I see the bikes all over the place.

Pogo said...

"Original Mike said...
Which is why I'm a lot more comfortable with $1
"
Yeah, it was a very smart move.
Trek will take a loss on this one.

I'm sure they wanted to be treated like yet another gummint utility at the trough.


"We have one in DC and it works incredibly well."
let us know after it's been in operation for 3 years.
I expect the costs will increase over time, and the price of use, unless taxpayers socialize it.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

Yes, it's more than possible for democrats to be fiscal conservatives. It's actually the only honest argument for someone who wants government to succeed and persist. It's the only way to keep any of the things a democrat wants government to pay for.

We're broke, so it's time to save tons of money. If other democrats follow the model of saving money, rather than merely paying lip service to cutting deficits while actually making them explode, the GOP will utterly lose every election.

It's a shame other democrats don't get it. I don't even know if Solgin does, but this is a good move anyway.

Aheitman said...

I think its actually about 3 years old (debuted in 2008).
Im not sure what the usage demographics look like (tourist vs local), but I notice many folks in suits riding them downhill to the Capital (Capitol? I always botch this...).
With the huge cuts coming in Metro (DC's bus and rail system)- it may provide a more reliable option for a lot of folks around here at a fraction of the cost. DC MEtrorail is going to hike the rates again...and decrease service.

Aheitman said...

And in regards to the tragedy of the commons- its not that common. Its membership driven and has penalties (motivation for preservation of resources)- From the wikibots (profound resource for my Masters degree...dammit)

Capital Bikeshare has four membership level options. Casual riders may purchase a 24-hour membership for US$5 or a 5-day membership for US$15 by using a credit card at the kiosk of any bike station. The kiosk then provides the user with a code that can be used to unlock any bike at the station. Riders may also sign up for a monthly or annual membership online for US$25 and US$75, respectively. Monthly and annual members receive an individual RFID key in the mail, which is used to unlock any bike at the station, bypassing the kiosk.[18] A replacement fee of US$1,000 is charged if a rented bike is not returned within 24 hours.[4]

The system's pricing structure is designed to encourage short hops from place-to-place rather than longer leisure trips. As such, all riders are subject to time-based usage fees. The first 30 minutes of each ride are free, after which scaling fees of US$1.50-6.00 are charged for each additional half-hour. The billing system keeps track of the usage time from when the bike is checked out until it is docked at any other station.[4][19] In the event that a rental station is full, riders may use the automated kiosk to add 15 minutes of free time in order to return the bike to another nearby station.[18]

Lincolntf said...

Grow up, Wisconsin. The dollar amount doesn't matter, the central planning does. Idiots.

Pogo said...

As expected.
It's another public sinkhole.

"The $6M bikeshare program is funded in the District by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration under their Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) fund, local funding (80/20). The Arlington system includes $835,000 for capital through a combination of funding from a grant through the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Arlington County transportation funding and sponsorships by the Crystal City BID and the Potomac Yard Transportation Management Association."

Ut said...

"Which is why I'm a lot more comfortable with $1, Pogo."

It should make you uncomfortable, for several reasons:

1) This deal locks out competing bike programs that might have paid the city a licensing fee for access to all those paying customers.

2) The deal is only for 5 years. That gives the company five years with which to bribe local politicians with campaign donations to keep out competition.

3) Once they have their favored politicians in place, Bike Trek can once again agitate for the city to pay for the upkeep and replacement of the bikes and otherwise slough off its costs onto the Madison homeowner.

Bike Trek is taking the long view toward raping the taxpayer, and by locking in a city deal even for $1, they lock out other companies. Not the best deal they might have gotten (remember, they were agitating for $1 million tax dollars in start-up money before).

Bike Trek may have lost this battle, but they haven't lost the war for Madison homeowners' tax money.

Methadras said...

I want to understand why government thinks it should be in the business of servicing anything? Some of them I can understand and possibly even support, but why is government on every level so involved with managing the citizens mobility or options for it?

Pogo said...

The book Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State explains why extremely well.

Aheitman said...

Im no bikeshare fanatic here, I never user it...I own my own bike. It just seems to be well liked and very functional.

And if the bike share is a public sinkhole...you guys should google WMATA. It kills people AND costs a fortune. Ah the beauty of a city run into the ground by Democrats (the B!TCH set me up!). Yes, Marion Barry is still a council member...and no, he has not yet paid his taxes.

garage mahal said...

Grow up, Wisconsin. The dollar amount doesn't matter, the central planning does. Idiots.

Of course the dollar amount doesn't matter to you. Happy people makes you miserable.

Pogo said...

"Happy people makes you miserable."

Making Peter pay for Paul's bike makes Paul very happy indeed.

Peter, not so much.

garage mahal said...

It costs $1.00

I'll be happy to pick it up the tab. Is it okay now?

Pogo said...

"Is it okay now?"

$1.00 is the named price, but it's not the cost.

You guys always leave that part out.

Ut said...

It costs $1.00."

"I'll be happy to pick it up the tab. Is it okay now?"

Actually, it's costing the city $500,000 ... because that's how much I'd pay the city over five years to get this contract instead of Bike Trek.

So, if the Coglin signs this deal, it's costing Madison taxpayers a minumum of half a million dollars.

Pogo said...

You have to wonder, if bikeshare is such a stupendous idea, why hasn't anyone done it already and made money?

Lacking a gummint teat, renting shared equipment is a difficult business.

Mainly it seems more subsidization of Stuff White People Like.

Original Mike said...

"Actually, it's costing the city $500,000 ... because that's how much I'd pay the city over five years to get this contract instead of Bike Trek."

Huh? Who are you? Are you serious or just being silly?

Comrade X said...

only a politician would have considered a deal for $285 per bicycle per year.

garage mahal said...

So, if the Coglin signs this deal, it's costing Madison taxpayers a minumum of half a million dollars.

It's costing the city of Madison $1.00 per year. I'm assuming the reason why is the city isn't buying the bikes or kiosks, [or sharing the profits].

Anyways, can't you read?

Ut said...

"Who are you? Are you serious or just being silly?"

I'm totally serious. In fact, I'll double my offer

I'd pay the city a licensing fee of $100,000 per year for 10 years to use for education if they give me this contract instead of awarding it to Bike Trek.

Plus, I'll put two Madison police officers on my board of directors and donate 10% of all corporate profits to the Wisconsin Benevolent Order of Police to pay for a widows fund to benefit widows of patrolmen who die in the line of duty.

All I want in return is a 20-year deal, access to city property to install the kiosks, top-notch police protection for my inventory of bikes and kiosks, a new city ordinance making it a felony to steal one of my bikes and a tax break on any profits the company might make since I'm creating local jobs, improving the quality of local Madison infrastructure.

Plus, I'll promise to borrow the capital to do the deal from local banks, plowing the interest on that loan back into the Madison community.

Nobody loses.

Everybody gains.

Deal?

rhhardin said...

US$1.50-6.00 are charged for each additional half-hour.

In the 60s you could rent a whole airplane for $6.50 an entire hour, gas included.

Albeit a J-3 Cub, fly-it-yourself.

rhhardin said...

Or, at the same time, you could rent an IBM 7090 for $600 an hour, which had about the processing power of your MP3 player.

Original Mike said...

@Ut - You really think there's money to be made here? Are there any examples of money making programs now in existance?

Aheitman said...

Pogo-
I think its a new idea because the technology has not existed at a price that makes it worthwhile.
Like a lot of great ideas that have been waiting for RFID/Internet integration.

Ankur said...

So how does everyone feel about oil subsidies and farm subsidies in these parts? Just curious.

Ut said...

"You really think there's money to be made here?"

There's money to be made by Madison taxpayers ... $1 million over 10 years which could be used for education, plus 10% of any profits donated to Wisconsin's finest widows of officers killed in the line of duty.

All I'm asking in return is to not be taxed on any profits that might be made. I don't really know if there's money to be made or not, but if there is I don't want to be penalized for creating local jobs.

That's my deal. I'll buy the bikes and kiosks with capital supplied by local banks so that the interest on that loan stays local. In fact, the first bank to offer up capital to get this project going will get a 2-year exclusive sponsorship that will see their logo plastered all over every bike rented and all the kiosks.

bagoh20 said...

We can do better. I'll bet I could negotiate a 99% reduction in that dollar of cost. Just let me in there. I'll need reimbursed for travel though.

Shanna said...

You have to wonder, if bikeshare is such a stupendous idea, why hasn't anyone done it already and made money?

Exactly. Anything that is financially viable will have private companies interested.

Jake said...

The Dutch tried this in Amstredam. All the bikes were stolen.

Original Mike said...

Well, I'm in no position to judge your viability Ut. All I know is a $100,000 expense just turned into no expense. Maybe not the best deal, but certainly better than the one the previous Mayor was pushing.

Jake said...

PS Mumbles Menino is doing it, too. That should tell you something.

Jake said...

BTW, Trooper, the Yankmees still suck. Just sayin' (while I'm here).

Ut said...

"Well, I'm in no position to judge your viability Ut."

I'll even buy the bikes from Trek Bikes to keep the bike builders local (assuming they'll give me a fair price).

Heck, I'd even lease the kiosks from them to keep the kiosk building business local (assuming, again, that I could get a fair deal from them).

At this point, viability isn't really an issue:

1) Local banks would finance all the start-up costs (estimated to be $2 million). In return, they get first dibs on the sponsorship opportunities.

2) Trek would build the bikes and give me a cut rate on them - employing local people.

3) Trek would build the kiosks I'd just lease them.

4) The city of Madison would pay for the real estate costs, since we'd only put kiosks on public property owned/protected by the city (or other local governmental institutions such as post offices or hospitals and such). The city would need to indemnify me against any lawsuits that might result from the operation of the business on their property, but that's fairly standard operating procedure in public-private partnerships.

5) Any profits would have to be tax free, so I'm assured of that viability where the current plan doesn't offer that stability.

6) Madison taxpayers share in the profits since they'll get $1 million over 10 years.

7) The widows of Madison police officers would benefit since they'd get 10% of any profit the outfit generated.

What's not to like?

Look ... the B-cycle deal is not a good deal for Madison taxpayers. If you take that deal, it's going to cost you $1 million over 10 years plus all the other benefits lost.

Original Mike said...

Damn, Ut has discovered my true identity.

ALH said...

"When you sit at the table to do a business deal, you look for the sucker. If you don't see the sucker, its you." ~Mark Cuban.

I am happy for the Madison taxpayers that they just saved $100 K (for now). At this table, though, I doubt the Trek company or the mayor are the suckers. Down the road, though, that just leaves the taxpayers.

traditionalguy said...

Now wait a minute here. Are these High Speed Bikes? Anybody can rent the low speeder one manpower bikes. But we want our dreams fulfilled too.

Ut said...

"Ut has discovered my true identity."

If you're Paul Soglin, you're about to be taken for a ride.

I'll guarantee you a much better deal.

Fred4Pres said...

Why is the City giving a sweet heart deal to Soglin with no bid and no benefit to the city? If I had a bike shop in town, I would be pissed off. Don't bike shops offer rental bikes in Madison?

It should not cost the city anything and they should get some sort of rent for the space.

Fred4Pres said...

Excuse me Soglin is the mayor who negotiated the deal. The fact he managed to back out of the city contributing $100K is I suppose a good thing, but this hardly seems like a good deal. It is a stupid deal. Just not anywhere as stupid as the first deal.

Ut said...

"It is a stupid deal. Just not anywhere as stupid as the first deal."

Exactly, if he takes this deal he costs Madison taxpayers $1 million, plus the cops widows don't get a cut.

He should take my deal.

Heck, I'd even put Ann Althouse on the board of directors of my non-profit organization that will control the bike program. That way, she could oversee things and make sure things are on the up-and-up.

Man, this deal just keeps getting better and better.

Original Mike said...

The thing about the cop's widows is a nice touch, Ut.

Ut said...

"The thing about the cop's widows is a nice touch, Ut."

It's not a joke.

I happen to believe that cops widows and children are some of the most deserving people in our communities and giving them a cut of the profits is the best way I can think to give back to the community.

I hope Madison's mayor doesn't let the city get taken for a ride on this crappy deal they've been offered.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Bike sharing - because again, citizens are either too stupid to not ride or too poor to afford their own bikes.

And, bikes are smart because (enter your favorite socialist reason here).

Bikes present their own set of problems.

Can someone explain why riding a bike is somehow smarter than walking??? Or, is it because it is a hat tip to our chinese overlords?

tim maguire said...

What happens if the bike rack is full? How do you return your bicycle?

jaed said...

It says up there somewhere. You go to the kiosk and get a 15-minute free credit to put the bike at another station. (Of course this assumes there's another station very close by. And it's annoying to have to lengthen your walk by that distance, so it's not perfect.)

I have a car-sharing membership (Zipcar), and while bikes and cars have some different logistical issues, I'm not sure they're so different that the same model won't work. So I'm not sure why this doesn't exist - and as a private business, not a local government program.

Skipper50 said...

so who's paying for it?

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