Cycling in Sydney Australia
From the Sydney Cycling Herald, this will be interesting
[for the time poor the summery is that rival Asian Bike Share companies are setting up in Sydney & Melbourne.]
I hope these turn out to be roaring financial successes but there is reason to have doubt, perhaps the flexibility of the app and return almost anywhere will be key to overcoming previous problems.
And a rehash of the same story but with a bit more detail on the specific plans for Sydney says, "..first 160 bikes will ship from China on Monday, but the plan is to put 6000 bikes on greater Sydney's streets within six months.."
I hope they sue the government for interference in their business model in a way that is similar to how the private transit authorities can sue the government if they do something to decrease toll revenues. Not that I agree with this kind of thing, but it may be one way to rid us of MHL.
A key difference with this bike scheme and others is that helmets are being provided, which I thought they couldn't do due to the hygiene question. But anyway providing helmets will mean that this is a significantly different initiative to the existing Mel Govt one, when I was down there I could of simply used a helmet that had been left by a previous person but I wanted to buy one and it took 3 7-11's before I got one.
I'm hoping it will be a great success, for a whole host of reasons that we all know
The article did point out that if they don't increase the bike parking at stations, there will be an extra 6000 bikes clogging up footpaths and access.
This could force the state government to stop putting off the cycle infrastructure until after the light rail is built and start doing something about it now!
I optimistic it can lead to better things.
No govt wants (too much) blood on their hands for folks on a shared bike
In Japan where I have used bike shares I noticed they were all e bikes (in the cities anyway). Given Sydney CBD is resonably hilly, I hpe Mr Tang?? has employed a motor to assist. I read that the Mbne one just launched has standard bicycles, one gear, fat tyres.
While not the same, the bike hire place at Manly does very nicely from the off the ferries tourist trade. I am guessing but the day tourist would be the target users with this BSS?
A quick poke around the Sydney harbor front would be an option for that same type of tourist who has that spare two or three hours. So another big drop off spot could be at Circular Quay to do the Manly boat trip? But yes I can see plenty left in and around the casino.
Remember that the 'quick poke around the Sydney harbor front' (which is a lovely way to show the city off to visitors) is somewhat stymied by the fact that you can't cycle in the Botanic Gardens...
Hmmm, yes why lock up the very best bits?
I guess the word will have to be put out to don the bat wings, drizzle fig juice down your face while weeing in your pants and if you can screech loud enough, they may let you in and even better, out again.
Funnily enough I was in Shanghai the other week, and noticed all the bike share bikes everywhere. I didn't get to ride one, but given the topicality , I've put pics and words about them here:
I am, of course, ever hopeful. It would be wonderful if these schemes were a success here, and helped drive another chapter in the pedal revolution.
However, I see four key difficulties they will face here, compared to China:
1) Helmets. You just can't get away from this. Helmets are by far the biggest reason that the schemes in Melbourne and Brisbane have failed. Yes, the new schemes are more flexible - but docking station-type systems have worked pretty much everywhere else - except where you need helmets. I don't see that removing some of the second and third order irritants with the older docking station technology is going to add that much usage. Remember helmets were by far the biggest reason given in surveys for people not using the Brisbane scheme - mentioned by 66% of people...
2) Payment mechanic
Yes, using an app is better that a docking station. But in China, there is a fully-integrated mobile payments ecosystem that everyone is already using. Here, you you going to have to register the app with your credit card, bank account or PayPal account (or some other third-party payments mediator). I used to work in the mobile payments industry, and this is harder than it looks. It doesn't take much for people to go 'meh' and not bother when they realise they have to type in credit card numbers or otherwise faff about after they download the app.
3) Bike maintenance / movements
In China, there are fleets of employees who move bikes around, repair them, collect them from strange locations etc. In principle, you can do that in Australia too. However, the manpower costs are probably twenty times more. So it's going to be very hard to get the same level of servicing of the system that they enjoy in China. And less good servicing means less working bikes in the right locations, and more broken ones in the wrong locations, which will be a deterrent to use.
4) Attitudes of local people
Sydney is not a comfortable place to ride. Yeah, we all know that. but also, in general there is a less tolerant outlook than in Asia. Sad to say, I see more likelihood of bike vandalism and community backlash than in China. I really hope not, but a combination of a lot of bikes being kicked over and scattered over the pavements by drunks coupled with Screwball complaining about how they are all over the footpaths could become a political issue...
Sorry, that all sounds rather negative. I really hope that I am, wrong, and / or the people running those systems have very deep pockets and are in it for the long game. Because it would be great to have a successful bike share here in Sydney.