That’s great that you can afford to drop well over $100 up-front on the privilege to take these bikes. These bikes are clearly not a problem for your demographic. However, you cannot really claim to have found the solution to solving the “half mile” problem if it isn’t an affordable option for the entire city.
One of the problems here is we have a private corporation taking away parking spaces for the profit of its own business. These types of bike-shares to be successful need to be affordable to EVERYONE and thus should be ran like a non-profit in my opinion.
Without dropping $150 up front, these Ford GoBikes are $6 per rental for a 35-minute ride. Keep in mind this is the “promotional” price that ends on 9/31. Furthermore, if we look at the Citi Bike Share in New York City (also owned by Motivate) once the promotional pricing ended they completely eliminated the single ride option. Your only options are a day pass or a yearly pass. In New York City, the day pass is $12 and each additional 15 minutes beyond the first 30 minutes is another $4. So that same 35-minute bike ride will cost $16. I’m assuming San Francisco will have similar prices once the promotional period is over.
Now let’s compare that to YouBike in Taipei Taiwan — which I consider an awesome bike share program that San Francisco could learn a lot from. YouBike is a public partnership between the City of Taipei, Taipei Metro and Giant bicycles. The first 30 minutes are FREE if you pay using your EasyCard (Clipper card) and each additional 30 minutes is $10NT (about $.30 cents). If you don’t have a EasyCard you’d simply swipe your credit card and you pay the regular 30 cents per 30 minute rates.
So, assuming you have an EasyCard/Clipper Card a 35 minute bike ride on YouBike will cost you 30 cents ($10NT). That same bike ride during the promotional period in San Francisco would cost you $6. So my question is, why is it 20 times more expensive to rent a bike in San Francisco?
Is there a price we can all agree on that would work? Personally, I would welcome the Ford GoBikes if they were free for the first 30 minutes and than a dollar for each additional 30 minutes. Anything beyond that just seems greedy.
YouBike has completed 86,826,995 rides since it opened in 2012… how about that for some last mile utilization?