2010-11-26 / Community

City Wants You To Share A Bike

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for private companies to provide a bike share system in New York City, establishing a publicly available, sustainable transportation option for New Yorkers and visitors.

The RFP calls for a private company to bear all the cost and responsibilities for the system during an initial fiveyear period while sharing revenues with the city, and with no taxpayer funds being used for the system’s implementation, upkeep or maintenance. A system could be started by spring 2012, using the latest in bike share technology to provide secure and convenient bicycles on a 24-hour basis, and at publicly accessible prices. The RFP looks to encourage bicycle use as an environmentally-friendly and congestion reducing transportation option, in keeping with the Mayor’s PlaNYC agenda for a greater, greener New York.

“Biking has become a serious transportation option in New York and bike share is the clear next step,” said Sadik-Khan. “New York’s ideal geography, high residential and commercial density and growing bike infrastructure make it the perfect option for short trips since over 50 percent of trips in NYC are under two miles.”

“A bike sharing program would provide New Yorkers with another transportation option while reducing traffic. We are excited to see what creative ideas are submitted by the private sector through this RFP process,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. While the RFP does not specify the number of bicycles or the precise geographic area to be covered by a bike share system, preliminary City research indicates that a financially self-sustaining program could include Manhattan south of 60th Street and surrounding neighborhoods. DOT is particularly interested in systems that span more than one borough and that make the best use of the city’s growing bicycle network.

From their debut in Paris, Toulouse and Barcelona, bike share systems have grown in popularity, security and sophistication. New bike share systems, such as those pioneered in Denver and Montreal, have increasingly lower costs, and this RFP calls for a system that uses the latest technologies to prevent theft, which has been virtually non-existent in the newest bike share systems in London and Washington DC.

The RFP calls for a system that includes bike share stations that would be located every few blocks, allowing for easy pick-up and drop-off. The system will allow members of the public to purchase memberships, which would entitle them to an unlimited number of 30 minute trips each day at no additional cost. Trips longer than 30 minutes would likely be assessed a small charge, as bike share is meant to serve short trips.

NYCDOT anticipates that the system would start in spring 2012, with tests occurring beforehand to assess all of its elements for durability and support.

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