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Re: [carfree_cities] NYT on Bixi's inauguration in Montreal

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Hi All, ... Now, what if they had taken that $13 million and just bought cheap, single-speed bikes (geared a little low) from China? I expect they could have
    Message 1 of 2 , May 14, 2009
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      Hi All,

      Here's my take on this:

      >The city spent roughly $13 million developing the new bike-sharing system.

      >Bixi is nothing if not ambitious. The service is starting out with
      >3,000 of the specially designed bicycles distributed among 300 closely-
      >spaced stations in its downtown core.

      Now, what if they had taken that $13 million and just bought
      cheap, single-speed bikes (geared a little low) from China?
      I expect they could have had them in lots of 100,000 bikes
      for $30 each (I myself bought a new bike in Portugal for
      only Euro 40 a few years back, and this included front/rear
      deraileurs). That gives a cost of $3 million per 100,000 bikes.
      So, your $13 million would have bought more than 400,000 bikes.

      If these bikes are:

      Unique in their frame characteristics (doesn't have to be
      much different, just enough to identify them)

      Painted plain white

      Adapted for hard use (solid rubber tires, coaster brake,
      front hand brake, no shifting)

      And possibly equipped with advertising (sigh)

      then, for that money the city could have had a system
      with zillions of bikes scattered throughout the entire
      downtown area. They would have been drag-and-drop, free
      to use, and completely free of hassles for the user (no chip
      card, no pin, no wasted time, no searching for an empty
      rack).

      I expect that school kids hungry for a little cash would
      have moved the bikes to where they were needed and "sold"
      them to people coming out of the metro for, say, a Loonie
      (a Canadian one-dollar coin).

      There are some operating costs involved, of course, and
      I suppose that 400,000 bikes is at least ten times as
      many as are really needed, but you get the idea.

      If you're caught with a Montreal bike off the island,
      you've been a very bad boy.

      This is like free public transport. It's too cheap an
      idea to accept. It HAS to be made more complicated.
      For some reason.

      Best,

      Joel



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