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  • BCycle Helps Set Records for System Funded by University Students

    by Marina Marich - BCycle Press Release | Apr 22, 2015

    BCycle, which develops and delivers best-in-class bike share systems worldwide, announced today that its proprietary system helped set several usage records for the first and only bike share program in the United States to be funded through university student fees.

    BCycle’s newest system, Great Rides Bike Share, in Fargo, North Dakota, is a collaboration between the city of Fargo and North Dakota State University (NDSU). The system has been rolling for a month, and it has experienced unprecedented and record-setting usage, including more than:

    • 20,000 checkouts to date, averaging about 1,000-1,250 checkouts per day
    • 4,300 student members
    • 1,500 trips
    • 170 trips being checked out in one hour
    • 30+ trips recorded on several bikes in one day with no fewer than 14 trips being recorded per bike, per day


    “We’re pleased that Fargo’s bike share system is off to an exceptional start. The extremely high usage and membership redemption rates demonstrate that our enterprise software and proven hardware are performing well,” said BCycle President Bob Burns. “It has been rewarding to work with Great Rides Bike Share, the city of Fargo and North Dakota State University to meet the system’s unique needs.”

    BCycle developed new MFRID technology for Great Rides Bike Share, and worked with NDSU to create a software solution that allows students to use their Bison Card student IDs to access the system with a click of the mouse or tap of the screen.

    “It is incredibly exciting to see this program take form and make an impact not only in our transportation fabric but also for recreation,” said NDSU Student Body President Sarah Russell. “I have yet to see an NDSU student on a Bike Share bike that isn’t smiling. Friendships are being made ‘on bikes’ simply because the program provides an activity to get together to do. Bike Share finds its way into conversations, social media, community collaboration and so much more, so we are very proud that NDSU has embraced this with open arms.”

    Great Rides Bike Share is the newest member of the BCycle bike share family. BCycle systems are located in more than 40 cities and municipalities in the United States and South America.

    BCycle’s unique non-profit operations model requires a collaborative approach. In Fargo, the city and university agreed to bring a bike share program to the community that would incorporate the school. They invited the non-profit Great Rides and other community members to provide input and selected BCycle as the bike share system provider.

    “We thought we were creating a transportation model, but in many ways, we’re seeing a recreational model emerge. It’s exhilarating to see college students pedaling for the pure joy of riding,” said Tom Smith, steering committee member of Great Rides Bike Share, owner of Great Northern Bicycle Co. and cycling advocate.

    “Technology is an important component of this success along with lowering barriers to get students on bikes,” said Sara Watson Curry, director of operations, Great Rides Bike Share. “Each check out and ride show our community that biking is another great way to move and fun.”

    Bike Share Great Rides’s system includes 101 bicycles throughout 11 station locations in downtown Fargo and NDSU’s main and downtown campuses. The university and its students fund 30 percent of the system with the remaining 70 percent of capital funding coming from other sources and sponsorships.

    “It’s been quite a ride since inviting BCycle to display the system at Streets Alive, which resulted in pitching the idea the fall of 2011 to Cam Knutson and NDSU Student Government,” said Fargo City Commissioner Mike Williams. “Thanks to optimism, hard work and tenacity of the great student leaders and incredible community partners, Great Rides Bike Share is now a GREAT RIDE for thousands.”

  • Has Philadelphia Made A Bike Share That Can Get The Entire City Biking?

    by Anita Hamilton - Fast Company | Apr 17, 2015
    Photo Credit Michael Leff
           Its new program aims to get minorities and low-income residents to hop on bikes by placing stations more equitably and offering a way to pay without a credit card. 

    Ever since Washington, D.C., launched the nation’s first publicly funded bike share program in 2008, some 70 cities have followed suit, from Savannah to Seattle. And while some systems have floundered financially—even D.C.’s original SmartBike system shut down in 2011 before its current Capital Bikeshare took off—bike sharing in the U.S. is clearly on a roll. More than a dozen new networks launched in 2014, up from just four in 2010.

    But Philadelphia will put a new spin on bike share this spring with the launch of its new Indego program in April. In a departure from other bike share programs around the country, fully a third of the 600 bikes in Philadelphia’s Indego system, with stations made by BCycle, will be located in low-income neighborhoods, and all residents will have the option of paying with cash if they don't own a credit card. "We’re blazing some trails," says the city’s bicycle programs manager Aaron Ritz. "We hope that this will be groundbreaking in a repeatable way."

    Despite their increasing success, one area where bike share programs have largely failed is in attracting a diverse ridership. As a rule, bike share users tend to be white, at least middle class, and more often male than female. Even in D.C, where half the residents are black, only 3% of its riders are black, according to a 2013 report on the program. In Boston, which launched its Hubway system in 2011, 80% of riders earn more than the city’s median income of $49,000. New York, which now has nearly 6,000 Citibikes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, has none stationed in the poorest minority neighborhoods.

    Considering that most bike share programs are funded at least in part with public funds, such stark lack of diversity is particularly problematic. Philadelphia, for example, is paying for its Indego bike share with $3 million in city funds and $1.5 million from the state. The rest of the program’s $16 million total budget over the next five years comes from a corporate sponsor (Independence Blue Cross) and a nonprofit family foundation. "You can’t just have a lifestyle amenity that is funded by public resources," says Adonia Lugo, a bicycle anthropologist at Bicicultures, an interdisciplinary research collaboration.

    That’s why Philadelphia decided to design its bike share system, slated to launch on April 23, to appeal not just to tourists and wealthy residents, but to a larger slice of its nearly 1.6 million residents. That includes the 27% who live below the poverty line and the city’s majority minority population, which is 43% black, 12% Latino, and 6% Asian. "Our bike share will be accessible to underserved communities from day one," says Carniesha Fenwick-Kwashie, grant manager of the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia. A $3 million grant from the JPB Foundation is paying for stations in low-income neighborhoods where the median household income is 150% of the poverty line.

    While bike stations in poorer areas may not be as profitable as those near tourist attractions like the Liberty Bell or the Rocky Steps, "It was important for us to put the bikes not only in areas that would be a slam-dunk revenue generator," says Ritz.

    What’s more, Philly will be the first U.S. city to launch its bike share with a cash payment option available to any resident, regardless of income. (While Boston’s Hubway and Capital Bikeshare also have cash payment options, Boston's is only allowed for residents under a certain income threshold and D.C.'s only for residents of certain areas.) They will need access to a computer and a permanent address to sign up for the 30-day membership, which costs $15 and includes an unlimited number of free one-hour rides. They will receive a key fob in the mail giving them access to the system, and can fund their account at 7-Eleven or Family Dollar stores. An annual Indego membership costs $10 plus $4 per ride, and nonmembers can pay $4 per half hour.

    The big question going forward is whether Philly’s efforts to build a better bike share will actually work. "What makes bicycling accessible for people is feeling a sense of belonging or seeing people who look like them riding," says Lugo. Because many low-income people grew up riding public transit, "riding bicycles can be seen as a failure," adds Alison Cohen of Bicycle Transit, which will operate Philly’s network of bikes and stations.

    To get the word out, the city is hiring 10 neighborhood "ambassadors" to show residents how to use the bike share and encourage them to do so. It has also teamed up with the Mural Arts Program to create public murals designed by local artists with help from local elementary schoolkids in low-income areas that will draw attention to the stations. A social media campaign called "Where Will Indego Take You?" will ask riders to take pictures of rides to their favorite parts of the city and share them on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media.

    Philadelphia’s ambitions don’t end at its city limits, either. It’s teaming up with Drexel University's School of Public Health to study the impacts of bike share on riders’ health over the next three years. And it is working with the national nonprofit People for Bikes to help other cities develop more inclusive systems and transform bike share’s image from a luxury for the rich into an affordable, healthy, and fun alternative for more city dwellers.

    See the original article here:
  • SXcycles: B-cycle Breaks Ridership Records at SXSW!

    by Corinna Burford - SXSW News | Apr 17, 2015

    HomePhoto by Lauren Lindley
    Photo by Lauren Lindley

    As attendees descended on the downtown area they proved for the second year in a row that Austin B-cycle is a favorite transit alternative among SXSW registrants and year-round residents of Austin. 

    As attendees descended on the downtown area they proved for the second year in a row that Austin B-cycle is a favorite transit alternative among SXSW registrants and year-round residents of Austin.

    Launched just over a year ago in December 2013, the popular bike share platform has seen two record setting spring seasons during the festivities of SXSW. In 2014, Austin B-cycle set a record 6.2 average of checkouts per b-cycle per day and a one-day record of 10.1 checkouts per b-cycle per day. During the 2015 conference, a record 3,032 total trips were taken in one day on Thursday, March 19th, averaging 8.2 trips per ​B-cycle.

    From March 13th - March 22nd, the Austin B-cycle team manned 9 valet stations and balanced the system nearly 7,000 times to account for the influx of trips made to the central business district, primarily the Austin Convention Center. Throughout the 10 days of SXSW, attendees and visitors of Austin took over 21,000+ trips - nearly 4,000 more trips than B-cycle's inaugural SXSW in 2014!

  • Austin Keeps It Weird with New BCycle Product

    by Ryan Callahan | Apr 01, 2015

    Waterloo, Wisconsin – April 1, 2015 –
     As the dust settles over Austin with SXSW 2015 in the books, Austin prepares for the 2016 installation of its famous multimedia festival and exhibition.

    Brian Conger, Director of Operations at BCycle, was pleased to announce the launch of a new product to the bike line, BUniCycle, to satisfy the increased demand placed on bike-share systems during events like SXSW.bunicycle-small

    “Austin BCycle set a system record during the festivals with more than 3,000 rides in one day and with the average bike being checkout 57 times,” says Conger. “With people from all over the world flocking to Austin for this festival, we are running out of places to locate bikes on the ground.”

    Eric Bybee, Product Design Engineer at BCycle, points out the merits of the BUnis. He said, “Along with the 75 percent reduction in weight, increased handling and minimal footprint, BUnis DirectToWheelTM drive technology also has 126 fewer parts. Fewer parts means less maintenance and lower costs, resulting in more BUnis on the street.”

    The excitement is not only coming from BCycle. Jess Braun, an Austin resident and avid BCycle user exclaimed, “We have seen a huge reduction in car traffic since BCycle came to town. Typically five BCycles can fit into the space that only one car could occupy, but with the crowds we see during SXSW, we need even more! 15 BUnis can fit into that same space? I am sold!”

    Conger sums up the project by stating, “Bicycles are a simple solution to a complex problem. BUnis are an even simpler solution. It’s a no brainer.”

    Oh, and, Happy April Fools’ Day!

  • Austin B-cycle Made the list: How to Navigate SXSW Like a Know-It-All: The Insiders' Guide

    by Andy Langer | Mar 16, 2015

    Best Ride Without Surge Pricing: B-Cycle

    Boasting more than 40 stations ­downtown, B-Cycle, the city's official bike-share, is partnering with SXSW and ­renaming itself SXcycles for the week. ­( )

    View image on Twitter
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