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Yeah, I don't expect bike sharing to ever be profitable outside of (major) city centers. Maybe that's a good thing -- once we get over this stupid fad of monetizing basic improvements to urban life, we'll be able to buy the equipment for pennies on the dollar and run it as a public service ;)

FWIW, I think your analysis (young, educated, bourgeois) is spot on, and that bikeshare companies are completely aware. Check out this map of Citi Bike's availability:

https://member.citibikenyc.com/map/

If you're not familiar with NYC: it's only available in business, wealthly/middle-class, and rapidly gentrifying areas. To continue my baseless speculation: it wouldn't surprise me if Citi Bike's (hypothetical) profitability relied on only serving these populations. Reprehensible, and another reason to agitate for bike shares as an extension of public transport.






I'm guessing the "young, educated, bourgeois" demographic is the early adopter of most new technologies. If you wrote off everything that was primarily used by that demographic in its early days, you'd have missed out on the personal computer, mobile phones, digital photography, and many other things that are widespread today.

> If you wrote off everything that was primarily used by that demographic in its early days, you'd have missed out on the personal computer, mobile phones, digital photography, and many other things that are widespread today.

Not writing off! I'm in that demographic. But let's call a spade a spade.

That being said, I think there's a substantial difference between PCs/cellphones/digital photography and bikesharing: the former were also adopted as business interests, while the latter is just a luxury or employment perk. PCs and cellphones reshaped the office, digital cameras reshaped newstelling and photojournalism; I find it hard to believe that bikesharing-qua-private-service will be doing much reshaping.


One issue with commuting using public transport to a large tech campus is traveling to meetings and lunch places during the day. You can walk 10-15 minutes or use the company shuttle, which takes +20 minutes to be in another building on time. If you came by car, you can drive 2-5 minutes and spend 1-5 minutes parking. With bike, it's 5 minutes door to door. Providing e-bikes for in-campus travel would do some reshaping, as it can reduce need for parking space and would allow for more efficient use of time.

Not as big as cellphones obviously. Still something.

People who travel to client sites in dense urban environments may have even more interesting numbers.


Is walking 10-15 minutes (especially in a generally nice climate) really a big issue? I hear scooters and bikes mentioned a lot for those cases where people might need to travel a mile. Most of the time, I'd consider having to walk a mile or so to get from Point A to Point B a feature rather than a bug. Certainly I had to regularly walk that sort of distance around college campuses and never considered it a particularly big deal--and I didn't attend schools in nice weather locations.

They are quite useful when you're getting off at a bus/train station and need to travel the last mile.



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