May 24, 2011

"So far, B-cycle bike-share program is glitchy."

It's Madison’s bike-share program. We were out biking — on our own bikes — yesterday, and we noticed one of the "stations." Meade took some pics.

These guys were trying to figure it out:

DSC01480

Here's what they were reading. Here are the bikes, waiting for release by credit card:

DSC01489

They look heavy, though easy to mount (what with that "girl bike" styling). They don't look like something people would want to steal, but stealing is a bad idea, because they've got GPS devices embedded in them.

I hope the glitches are worked out and that people use them, because we've got them.

41 comments:

MarkG said...

Whitewalls! First thing I thought of was Pee-wee Herman.

Tim said...

...I'm turning Chinese
I think I'm turning Chinese
I really think so
Turning Chinese...

With apologies to the Vapors.

MarkG said...

And there's a place up front for the girlfriend to sit. Nice.

Coketown said...

Ideas to help speed adoption:

- Rainbow tassels
- Tandem alternative for lovebirds
- Frequent-rider punch card
- Free helmet

Every time I'm in Denver and see one of these racks it's full. Nobody uses them. Bike rentals only work at the beach.

Dead Julius said...

Fugly bikes.

Only men who would wear shorts without an acceptable reason would ride one of those.

kimsch said...

So it's the 24 hour pass at $10 (or the weekly or annual membership for $30/$65) PLUS the additional fees per half hour up to a max of $75 for a day?

Seems a bit complicated.

Penny said...

So how high would gas prices need to rise before we'd get REALLY bitchy about this glitchy bike-share program?

andinista said...

There it is, progressive ideas in action. Extract rich people's money, start a program, lard it with all sorts of carbuncles: buy weird bikes that no one would buy or ride if they were spending their own money, in the name of inclusiveness or ergonomics or something.

The perfect bicycle exists, and can be bought now, that everyone would ride. That perfect bicycle form has been in existence for most of 100 years. You know what that perfect bike looks like (hint: they're called commuter bikes). These are not those.

This program will die. It's embarrassing. The progressives will blame everyone but themselves. Good money has been flushed down the toilet. The bikes themselves will fall into disrepair, disappear, or be given away. Eventually a tangled pile of them will sit in the municipal lay-down yard, until everyone has forgotten and they can mercifully be sold for scrap. Sic transit gloria progressus.

T J Sawyer said...

Hmmmm.

So it's the 24 hour pass at $10 (or the weekly or annual membership for $30/$65) PLUS the additional fees per half hour up to a max of $75 for a day?

Or, over at Craig's list/Madison/Bikes we have:

Schwinn 10-speed - $40 (Inner West)


I wonder how this is going to work out?

A. Shmendrik said...

They're here, they're queer, and they not going riding.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

How long before we see forced/mandatory bike usage?

Don't laugh...progressive 'ideas' are really not ideas, but control mechanisms. Because, instructions and regulation are 'patriotic'.

Myself, I like the free-market approach. The $40 Schwinn on Craigslist? Perfect.

Sadly I think we will see more monuments to helplessness and stupidity. As long as we have 'progressives'.

edutcher said...

Dead Julius said...

Fugly bikes.

Only men who would wear shorts without an acceptable reason would ride one of those.


More like men who wear Mom jeans.

One of those might be less embarrassing than the limo.

AllenS said...

Put a nice little motor on them, and they'll rent like crazy.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So if you have an annual membership, the cost works out to $2 per hour.

Up to a maximum of $75 per day.

There's a reason liberals tend to go into the soft majors.

TWM said...

This will not end well. I look forward to a three or four month update.

djf said...

This program will be an abject failure in all-white Madison, WI. Food for thought, how long would this program last if the bikes were located on the South Side of Chicago, Northwest Baltimore, Southeast DC, Liberty City, Miami or East St. Louis? Every bike would be stolen, vandalized or thrown in the river within two weeks. This is mushy-headed liberal idiocy at it's best. These people are ruining our country.

Lyle said...

Planned communalism often fails (think of the old 1800s utopian communes)... this planned green communalism will probably fail too.

rhhardin said...

Those are girls' seats.

Use those and your sperm count goes to zero.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Any disinfectant for the seat? I'm not riding on a bike that has someone else's ass matter.

Pogo said...

In a perfect circle of progressive self-love, these municipal bikes will be rented by public union members with subsidized cards, and the people who don't want either will pay for both.

DaveW said...

...you were riding your own bikes? They haven't made it against the law for you to use anything other than the bike-share bikes yet?

Comrade X said...

renting. sharing. no difference.

ET1492 said...

Someone should make some "Pee Wee Herman has a posse" stickers for those bikes.

Pogo said...

First, it's the girl's bikes, then it's Bitte im Sitzen pinkeln.

caplight said...

It doesn't cost me seventy-five dollars a day to rent a Hummer for God's sake.

Paco Wové said...

Seems kinda pricey. Do they provide bike locks? Since the rider is financially responsible for the bike in case it is damaged or stolen, having someone ride off on your rented bike while you are patronizing one of Madison's wonderful touristy opportunities seems like a real danger.

ET1492 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vet66 said...

This is rule by committee and the liberals will remain blissfully unaware that their dreamy ideas will fail in the market place. No problemo, though, it is other people's money and if the project is a failure it is because the unwashed masses are ignorant.

The liberals will not accept failure for any project that the citizenry ignores. These people have too much time on their hands lending credence to the old saying; "idle hands are the devil's workshop."

Brennan said...

A similar program exists in Minneapolis. However, my understanding is the program is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield. They're the sponsor. Their name is on the bikes.

Calypso Facto said...

Don't Tread: the USAGE isn't mandatory, only the financing. Ugly, expensive bikes AND glitchy service in a town that's under snow 6 months a year--all this for only $100,000 a year in city tax money.

Brennan said...

Do they provide bike locks?

I don't think so. The way the fee structure works is you are billed per 30,60,90 minute or more block that you keep the bike out of the bike return depot. Basically, the idea is to check out a bike on the east end and ride it to the west end to leave it at another depot for someone else to check out.

The one way system is pretty useful.

Jim said...

We have something like this business in D.C. There are some glitches - a few racks of bikes that never get used, other racks that are so heavily used that it's hard to get / park a bike. But it's become a very popular commuting or zipping out to lunch option here because it's a very practical way to go a few or 15 blocks, and it's cheaper than 4 taxi rides if you get the annual pass key. The "girl bike" styling isn't going to impress any racers but nobody is going to steal such a clunky thing and if you're wearing a suit and have to go 8 blocks to meet a buddy for lunch, it works pretty well. FWIW, we do have the racks in SE D.C. - near the new ballpark, 8th & I and the bar district near the USMC barracks & Naval Yard - but not in the craptacular/dangerous neighborhoods. We cyclists are a little utopian, but most of us aren't insane.

TW: dingis. I love our local bikeshare business but do feel like a dingis riding one of the goofy looking things.

E.M. Davis said...

I'm cool with this if it were the entrepreneurial endeavor of some private business.

Aren't the ones in Amsterdam basically free?

k*thy said...

These are a class of bikes called comfort bikes, meant for short urban trips by users of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Targeted to out-of-towners.

madAsHell said...

Portland, Oregon took a different approach. They bought a bunch of bicycles, and painted them fugly.

The bikes were scattered around the downtown area, and anybody could ride for FREE. When you are finished with the bike, just leave it there....anywhere.

It's hard to find these bikes anymore. I think most of them are swimming in the Williamette.

garage mahal said...

Ugly, expensive bikes AND glitchy service in a town that's under snow 6 months a year--all this for only $100,000 a year in city tax money.?

What? 100k?

sonicfrog said...

A 24 hour pass costs $10. A 7 day pass is $30, while an annual membership is $65. Personally, as someone who is perpetually on a tight budget, I think the one day pass is too high. Still, if that were the end of the fees, I would say OK, not too bad... but there are other fees. After the first 30 minutes of use, they start to charge you, first $2 for the next 30 minutes, then $5 for each after that. So you really don't want to have your bike out for any length of time, or it will cost you. You know, for the price of renting and using one of these bike for a month, it would be cheaper to simply go out and buy a bike of your own. Even with gas prices hovering in the $4 dollar range, it would be cheaper to go ahead and drive my car downtown.

In the end, this is destined to prove itself a horrible idea. I just find myself staring at the picture wondering "what were they thinking?". And what is going to happen when someone inevitable gets injured while riding a Madison B-Cycle, or is their a "no lawsuit" clause built into the contract when you rent one of these things. I guarantee that it will end up not making nearly as much money and get as much use as it was projected and it will end up costing much more than the original bid.

Oh, and do they provide little seat and handle grip sanitizers for the individual rider, because i have no idea who the previous rider was and how clean they might be.... I'm just sayin.

Pogo said...

I suspect these will be little used, but even if, like the Washington DC section where use is heavy were to happen, it's still a very bad idea.

Why is the gubmint involved in bike rentals at all???

Calypso Facto said...

garage: The City of Madison is spending $100,000 a year for the first 3 years of the program, on top of user fees. The first year's money came from the city's reserve fund because, obviously, having rent-a-bikes downtown is an emergency!

Sigivald said...

MadAsHell: Yeah, I'm not sure I've EVER seen one of the yellow "free bikes".

I suspect the ones that weren't destroyed for fun or stripped for parts got re-painted and stolen directly.

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