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Yellow Bicycles (and "Flex" Cars)

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  • Jym Dyer
    =v= For yellow bikes programs, the thing I fret most about is whether the bike fits. It seems to me that yellow bikes should have their frame size printed
    Message 1 of 4 , May 18, 2003
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      =v= For yellow bikes programs, the thing I fret most about is
      whether the bike fits. It seems to me that yellow bikes should
      have their frame size printed prominently on the seat tube, with
      ruler markings on the seat stem so that people could adjust them
      to fit.

      =v= Not all yellow bikes are junk: quality varies. A bigger
      problem, though, is theft, especially for the better bikes!
      (Some folks don't worry about this, though, reasoning that the
      bike is being used, where as before it wasn't. Who knows?)

      =v= A community bikes program could deal with all of these. If
      rental and short tour companies can maintain fleets that fit a
      variety of people, so could such a program.
      <_Jym_>

      P.S.: I don't agree that a flexcar system is "just like" a
      yellow bike (or any bike) program. It's basically just a car
      rental scheme. It's been argued that it helps people be carfree
      by letting them make only occasional use of such a car, but the
      systems I'm familiar with don't give you a better deal than any
      random car rental agency. And these programs are subsidized!
    • phillip m. torrone
      ... i ve never used a yellow bike program...that said, i don t know of a rental agency that only charges $25 for a lifetime membership, keep cars around the
      Message 2 of 4 , May 18, 2003
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        Jym Dyer wrote:
        > P.S.: I don't agree that a flexcar system is "just like" a
        > yellow bike (or any bike) program. It's basically just a car
        > rental scheme. It's been argued that it helps people be carfree
        > by letting them make only occasional use of such a car, but the
        > systems I'm familiar with don't give you a better deal than any
        > random car rental agency. And these programs are subsidized!

        i've never used a yellow bike program...that said, i don't know of a rental
        agency that only charges $25 for a lifetime membership, keep cars around the
        city so anyone can use just about any time, at really low rates...i travel
        quite a bit, renting cars is very different than using a flexcar.

        http://www.flexcar.com/seattle/pricing.asp

        i also know many people in seattle that went carless because of flexcar and
        many people who only have one car because of flexcar.

        cheers,
        pt
      • Chris Bradshaw
        From a carshare provider and cyclist: 1. Size -- Either each bike could have the size stamped (as was suggested) or the bke chosen for the program could have a
        Message 3 of 4 , May 25, 2003
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          From a carshare provider and cyclist:

          1. Size -- Either each bike could have the size stamped (as was
          suggested) or the bke chosen for the program could have a design to
          allow it to be "stretched." It will always be hard to get a "fleet"
          with the right mix of frame sizes. A related issue is matching the
          users' preference for a male or female frame type.

          2. Distribution -- If each user had to risk a deposit that required
          returing the bike to a proper "docking station," distribution would be
          more automatic.

          3. Quality -- Poor quality is the bargain-basement end of this market,
          usually based on "recycling" bikes. There must be liability
          implications, not to mention the issue below.

          4. Standardization -- If bikes are from the refuse heaps, they will be
          of all types, with different braking systems, different gears, some with
          chain guards, some with fenders, etc. This is also a safety issue as
          the user may have a collision while contending with the difficulties
          that would arise.

          5. Availability -- Unlike carsharing, these programs don't require the
          vehicle to be either reserved in advance (requiring both a start- and
          end-time) nor to be returned (see distribution, above). That means that
          the user can't count on a bike being available at a particular moment.
          Even if the prospective user saw one available outside his fourth-storey
          window, it might have disappeared before he got to ground level. Taxis
          are such a system, but are always on the run, and can be summoned to the
          location where needed (see: rickshaws).

          As a carshare provider, I would not offer such a service except:

          a. If a hand-held locator-booking technology existed, and the bike lock
          required electronic confirmation that a valid booking existed for that
          user before it could be unlocked. [The fourth-floor user would make a
          booking before heading downstairs.]

          b. All users had to pay a deposit equal to the value of the typical bike
          in advance. If bike were taken or damaged during the time between
          "dockings," it would cost them accordingly.

          c. All uses would be paid for on a km and minute basis.

          d. Utilized a high-quality bike design with low&adjustable frame and
          internal gears. The design would be unique to the industry, making
          private ownership impossible (and thus theft unlikely, as with
          Copenhagen program, I understand).

          e. All bikes would be visited each week for unkeep by paid, trained
          staff, including inflation of tires, oiling, and tightening of bolts,
          minor repairs, etc. (major repairs would involve leaving a replacement
          bike and taking the one needing shop time).

          These programs are worthy of more professional planning, for the same
          reason carsharing is: they save parking space, increase responsible use
          of bicycles, make utilitarian cycling more respectable, and reduce
          concept that bike should be part of rider's "personality."

          Chris Bradshaw
          Ottawa, Canada

          p.s.

          Jym Dyer wrote:

          > P.S.: . . . It's been argued that it helps people be carfree
          > by letting them make only occasional use of such a car, but the
          > systems I'm familiar with don't give you a better deal than any
          > random car rental agency. And these programs are subsidized!

          Carsharing has never promised to me cheaper than car rental, except for
          trips of a couple hours. The cost per hour is higher than car-rentals,
          for the same reason that the cost is higher to rent a ladder or power
          tool for a day than (on a per-day basis) a week.

          Most carsharing companies are not subsidized, and the majority that are
          were subsidized only for the launch costs.
        • Michael A Ohene
          I am not saying your plan is always impossible, there are just some obvious conflicts. 1.I assume, I have never been there, in Copenhagen you can take the
          Message 4 of 4 , May 25, 2003
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            I am not saying your plan is always impossible, there are just some
            obvious conflicts.
            1.I assume, I have never been there, in Copenhagen you can take the
            train from the suburbs to the city and use the little bikes to move
            around.
            2.In the US most people drive to the city from the suburbs, therefore
            there might not be a patronage of these common bikes.
            3.The United States of America is the richest country in the world,
            why should the government by a means of transportation for people
            who can afford it?

            Some general criticisms
            Why does everything have to be "Lets see how much the government can
            pamnder us." I mean the next logical step seems like us hiring
            attendants to wipe us.

            What prevents Canadians and Americans (US)
            from being able to clean the bikes themselves? The impression I get
            is because you are treating bicycles like toys and are more concerned
            with the total number of people on bikes for any purpose rather
            than having an increase in responsible, educated cyclists.

            You stated that you wanted to "increase responsible use
            of bicycles." To clear things up, it is considered irresponsible -
            the opposite of what you said - to neglect a vehicle and expect
            the government to take care of it for you.

            One thing that is frightening about what you propose is that
            it would probably win the beaurocratic division of the Goldman
            Machine Contest. It is the most complicated plan I have ever heard
            to get from point A to point B.

            Note, you stated:
            "a. If a hand-held locator-booking technology existed, and the bike
            lock required electronic confirmation that a valid booking existed
            for
            that user before it could be unlocked. [The fourth-floor user would
            make a booking before heading downstairs.]
            ....
            e. All bikes would be visited each week for unkeep by paid, trained
            staff, including inflation of tires, oiling, and tightening of bolts,
            minor repairs, etc. (major repairs would involve leaving a replacement
            bike and taking the one needing shop time). "



            You seem to be one of the many bicycle advocates who are anxious to
            copy the "European Model," and would be satisfied for speeding tons
            of money - or other people money - on accomodating a simple machine.
            You said:
            "3. Quality -- Poor quality is the bargain-basement end of this
            market,
            usually based on "recycling" bikes. There must be liability
            implications, not to mention the issue below. "

            I dont believe in the unnecessary production of inefficient machines -
            maybe because Im an engineer.
            The best way to accomodate bikes would
            be to teach people about bikes when they grow up through organizations
            like the Boy Scouts (cycling merit badge), School(P.E.), and other
            outlets. This way you ensure that people in the next generation are
            responsible - theres that word again - to choose and operate a bicycle
            in traffic. And also know how to maintain a bicycle with out the
            government doing all the work.

            Michael


            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Chris Bradshaw <chris@t...>
            wrote:
            > From a carshare provider and cyclist:
            >
            > 1. Size -- Either each bike could have the size stamped (as was
            > suggested) or the bke chosen for the program could have a design to
            > allow it to be "stretched." It will always be hard to get a "fleet"
            > with the right mix of frame sizes. A related issue is matching the
            > users' preference for a male or female frame type.
            >
            > 2. Distribution -- If each user had to risk a deposit that required
            > returing the bike to a proper "docking station," distribution would
            be
            > more automatic.
            >
            > 3. Quality -- Poor quality is the bargain-basement end of this
            market,
            > usually based on "recycling" bikes. There must be liability
            > implications, not to mention the issue below.
            >
            > 4. Standardization -- If bikes are from the refuse heaps, they will
            be
            > of all types, with different braking systems, different gears, some
            with
            > chain guards, some with fenders, etc. This is also a safety issue
            as
            > the user may have a collision while contending with the difficulties
            > that would arise.
            >
            > 5. Availability -- Unlike carsharing, these programs don't require
            the
            > vehicle to be either reserved in advance (requiring both a start-
            and
            > end-time) nor to be returned (see distribution, above). That means
            that
            > the user can't count on a bike being available at a particular
            moment.
            > Even if the prospective user saw one available outside his fourth-
            storey
            > window, it might have disappeared before he got to ground level.
            Taxis
            > are such a system, but are always on the run, and can be summoned
            to the
            > location where needed (see: rickshaws).
            >
            > As a carshare provider, I would not offer such a service except:
            >
            > a. If a hand-held locator-booking technology existed, and the bike
            lock
            > required electronic confirmation that a valid booking existed for
            that
            > user before it could be unlocked. [The fourth-floor user would
            make a
            > booking before heading downstairs.]
            >
            > b. All users had to pay a deposit equal to the value of the typical
            bike
            > in advance. If bike were taken or damaged during the time between
            > "dockings," it would cost them accordingly.
            >
            > c. All uses would be paid for on a km and minute basis.
            >
            > d. Utilized a high-quality bike design with low&adjustable frame and
            > internal gears. The design would be unique to the industry, making
            > private ownership impossible (and thus theft unlikely, as with
            > Copenhagen program, I understand).
            >
            > e. All bikes would be visited each week for unkeep by paid, trained
            > staff, including inflation of tires, oiling, and tightening of
            bolts,
            > minor repairs, etc. (major repairs would involve leaving a
            replacement
            > bike and taking the one needing shop time).
            >
            > These programs are worthy of more professional planning, for the
            same
            > reason carsharing is: they save parking space, increase responsible
            use
            > of bicycles, make utilitarian cycling more respectable, and reduce
            > concept that bike should be part of rider's "personality."
            >
            > Chris Bradshaw
            > Ottawa, Canada
            >
            > p.s.
            >
            > Jym Dyer wrote:
            >
            > > P.S.: . . . It's been argued that it helps people be carfree
            > > by letting them make only occasional use of such a car, but the
            > > systems I'm familiar with don't give you a better deal than any
            > > random car rental agency. And these programs are subsidized!
            >
            > Carsharing has never promised to me cheaper than car rental, except
            for
            > trips of a couple hours. The cost per hour is higher than car-
            rentals,
            > for the same reason that the cost is higher to rent a ladder or
            power
            > tool for a day than (on a per-day basis) a week.
            >
            > Most carsharing companies are not subsidized, and the majority that
            are
            > were subsidized only for the launch costs.
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