Kansas City Bike Share Program Crowdfunds to Expand (Updated)

The B-Cycle bike share program in Kansas City is using a crowdfunding platform to generate funds for capital investments after an underwhelming attempt to generate funds for operations.
January 20, 2014, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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(Updated - 01/21/2014) The bike share business model is a work in progress. While programs like Citi Bike in New York City are attracting a lot of riders, London's program lost its corporate sponsorship, and *a pilot program in Hoboken ended after a 6-month trial. Hoboken is now making a new attempt at bike share by entering into a regional partnership with Jersey City and Weehawken.

In its own bid to balance the books and deliver infrastructure improvements to the bike share system, the B-Cycle bike share program in Kansas City recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Neighbor.ly platform. The idea: “to run simultaneous mini-campaigns, ranging between $50,000 and $250,000, to bring anywhere from one to five stations to 10 different Kansas City neighborhoods,” writes Nancy Scola.

According to Scola, the crowdfunding campaign has multiple benefits: “to surface the sometimes-challenging mechanics of running a bike share program [and] to help create a cycling culture in a city that only three years ago was ‘a no-man’s land for bikes.’”

The current campaign is actually the second crowd funding effort by B-Cycle. The first gathered funding for the purpose of maintaining existing stations. The new campaign’s goal of building new stations was a strategic choice. “You want to have a goal you can share with an entire group of people,” says Sarah Shipley, communications director for BikeWalkKC, B-Cycle’s umbrella organization.

*The original post was updated to reflect the status of bike share in Hoboken.

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Published on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in Next American City
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