August 16, 2005
A Variation on Yellow Bikes?
Editor's note: Jerry passes on this link to a bike rental program in France:
Could this be made to work in Portland? Is there a market for bicycle rentals if access is made convenient enough?
August 16, 2005 8:46 AM
Evan Manvel Says:
This is similar to many programs in Norway and Sweden that I ran across when travelling: decent-quality bikes, computerized keys, registry of users. Sort of like FlexCar, but sometimes free. When I visited one town that dubbed itself the bike capital of Norway (the name of which I forget right now), the tourist office at the train station let me check out a bike for free and tool around town. It came with a lock, and then I returned it two hours later.
In Oslo, you pay a bit for a subscription. The downside was that the bikes were too small for me. But that's easily fixed (not my height, the bike size!)
It would be great if visitors to Portland could stop by a tourist office downtown and borrow a bike for free. Show ID and a credit card, and off you go for the afternoon. That'd help us get to Platinum.
August 20, 2005 4:38 PM
Maybe a "bicycle library"? Check out a bicycle and lock from one of the "branches" and return them to any other "branch". You show ID and put down a deposit, refundable on return of the bike (or submit a credit card). You will be charged a late fee if you have the bike more than a set period of time.
August 21, 2005 12:16 PM
Ross Williams Says:
The library analogy is a good one. One of the problems with using flexcar is that it isn't really useful for any trip where you are going to spend a lot of time at your destination before returning. The meter runs the whole time.
If you could pick up a bike at the Downtown Branch and drop it off at the Belmont Branch, then go get a biek at the Belmont Branch when you were ready to return it would make the whole network work.
The libraries only makes this work however because they can move the books back to their original branch. So the question is whether that can be done in a cost-effective manner. I think the circulation process is one of the main expenses for the library, so it may not be practical.