The European concept of car-sharing has taken off in the United States. Will bike-sharing do the same? 2010 will be the first year actual large-scale programs will be open and spinning for customers.
Marketplace lays out the speedbumps for bike-sharing as compared to car-sharing: cycles need more infrastructure, like kiosks, bike lanes, and custom-manufactured bikes with anti-theft devices. That costs money. Boston estimates it will spend $3 million annually for its program. Corporate sponsorships may be part of the funding mix. In Minneapolis for example, you'll see Blue Cross/Blue Shield logos on bikes and kiosks. Subscribers will also get cash incentives to join.
"That's something really important for what we are trying to do," says Minneapolis Bike Share manager Bill Dossett. "We're doing something totally new, people don't know about it. We need to create a market for it."
Thanks to Cathy Duchamp