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Re: [carfree_cities] Yellow Bicycles (and "Flex" Cars)

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  • 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 1 of 4 , May 18, 2003
      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 2 of 4 , May 25, 2003
        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 3 of 4 , May 25, 2003
          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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