November 2015 Update
Bike Share to come by 2017, why not next year?
SACOG and local agency partners are moving quickly to select a bike share operator by Spring 2016 and begin bike share service by Spring 2017. But why can’t we have a bike share system by Spring 2016 instead? Since January 2015, after SACOG became the lead agency to manage the Regional Bike Share Project, SACOG conducted extensive research to understand current best practices and lessons learned within a dynamic bike share industry.
SACOG’s research will help the region avoid issues that existing bike share systems already face. For example, SACOG will conduct a governance study to decide what model of governance would best suit the Sacramento region. Research and analysis will also be conducted for an equity component and continue to explore Connect Card compatibility.The most recent advancement is the consultant selection for the governance study, along with a Request for Information (RFI) release. It may seem like Spring 2017 is too far in the future, but taking the time to address the mistakes of other bike share systems and work closely with bike share operators will help build a world class bike share system for the region.
Who’s in charge of our future bike share system?
Right now, SACOG is developing the system. But, that doesn’t mean that SACOG will own, operate, and maintain the system once it’s up and running. Of the 50 or so bike share systems operating in the United States, all of them are uniquely managed to suit the area’s needs. SACOG has hired Toole Design to complete a Regional Bike Share Governance Analysis to help answer the question, “Who should be in charge of our bike share system?” They plan to begin with interviews of key stakeholders in November to understand how they can support bike share.
What is SACOG doing to understand current trends?
SACOG released a Request for Information (RFI) in September to gather additional information from potential vendors. Responses to the RFI will inform the upcoming Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFI responses will help to implement best practices in the development of the region’s bike share system. SACOG is interested in learning about the type of technology currently available, marketing techniques, governance structure models, budget and cost estimates, and overall recommended approaches. The RFI also seeks information on equity strategies. The RFI will close on October 30 and the results will be analyzed and incorporated into the RFP as deemed appropriate.
Who really benefits from a bike share system?
Equity is a critical factor in the world of bike shares. Almost all systems in the US have come across equity issues in various ways. Recent studies show that major bike share systems are predominantly used by affluent, educated Caucasians. A 2012 survey of 10,000 bike share users from DC to Minneapolis showed that nearly 80% are white, 88% had higher education, and 47% make over $75K a year. By targeting bike share equitable access and usage issues early on, we have a chance to break the mold on typical bike share system usage. SACOG is developing an equity analysis and potential components of an equity program for the implementation of bike share. This process has started with a literature review of best equity practices of current and forthcoming bike share systems. The next steps of the governance study will potentially address equity issues, as Toole Design will engage with key stakeholders in the community.
Can I use the Connect Card to pay for Bike Share too?
Currently, SACOG is working with multiple regional partners to create the Connect Card payment system, a new streamlined payment form for almost all transportation in the region. The region’s bike share has the potential to use this payment format, but compatibility research is still needed. Based on other agencies’ experience, the problems that reoccur with streamlined payment formats are rooted in the incremental fees that accrue with a bike share system. For riding a bus or light rail there is only one payment. However, for a bike share system there are incremental fees based on the amount of time a bike is used. Another complication is that personal user accounts are required to protect against liability, whilst for a bus or light rail use the Connect Card acts like cash and isn’t tied to one person. The Connect Card will need to go beyond a cash-like fob that you can tap and go. SACOG is taking steps by researching the current status of Connect Card to address the payment scale issues and how to best integrate both technologies for the convenience of all riders in the region. LA Metro is currently tackling similar issues, and it is in the region’s bike share system’s best interest to address the problem early on.