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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Portland rental bikes to cost $6,267 apiece

While the event put a shine on bike share in hopes to woo sponsors, it underscored an urgent need to raise money. So far the system only has $1.8 million in the bank thanks to a federal grant. However, the estimate to fully launch (750 bikes) and operate the system in the first year is $6.6 million ($4.7 million to get the system on the street and $1.9 million in operating costs). That leaves a significant funding gap that PBOT and Alta need to close.

A reader writes: "Let's do the math: $4.7 million divided by 750 bikes = $6,267 per bike."

And that doesn't count what it will cost to fish them out of the Willamette. Why the City of Portland is throwing money after this while it ditches core services is beyond comprehension. Except that we had the Sam Rand Twins running the place for years, of course.

Comments (13)

While it has a few more bike paths, overall I consider Portland a more dangerous place to cycle than it was 20 years ago. Between the congestion, narrower streets, speed humps, streetcar rails, and angry bus drivers, I avoid it as much as I can. But I'd be happy to cycle in the city if they gave me a $6,267 bicycle.

Why does Portland subsidize Avis Rental Cars (by granting them exclusive use of parking spaces) and then enter the bike rental business?

I am so tired of bike advocates. I take side streets on my bike. Stop whining about bike lanes. What a sense of entitlement from a group that I suspect pays very little in taxes due to deliberate underemployment.

Cost never matters to politicians whose only concern is how they are perceived by a target electorate. Everyone and everything else is expendable.

How much can you get for those bikes on Craigslist? Or for scrap metal?

Cost never matters to politicians whose only concern is how they are perceived by a target electorate.

Yes, career politicians, overly concerned about their career and staying in their career. They may be good at campaigning, having themselves marketed and working for vested interests, but in my opinion disastrous in decision making capabilities. We need to stop voting for familiar names unless we have thoroughly vetted them to know they are on the side of critical issues important to us.

This is yet another demonstration of Sammyboy’s fiscal incompetence. When the City Council approved City’s share of the start up funds, Saltzman stated he was voting yes on the condition no more City money would be spent on the bike share program, Given the apparent shortage of funds, will Salzman stand by his statement and demand fiscal self-sustainability of the program, or become a jellyfish?

A reader writes: "Let's do the math: $4.7 million divided by 750 bikes = $6,267 per bike."

I know you can walk into many department stores and ride out with a very suitable, decent bike for less than $400.

That would buy 11,750 bikes. With zero operating expense, because whoever was the recipient of the bike would be responsible for that.

Granted that's something around one bike for every 50 Portland residents, enough to increase Portland's bike trip share from 6% to 7%...and reduce TriMet's share by another percentage. Meanwhile, trips taken by automobiles will continue to stay unchanged...

It's not just the initial purchase price of the bikes. I'm sure there will be some kind of office or group of City employees paid to administer, publicize, tweet and repair the fleet. Remember that the last time a similar program was operating in Portland it failed miserably. I really don't think this is the City's responsibility or a good use of our money. They could just as easily have offered incentives to local bike shops or entrepreneurs and shifted the burden (and any financial benefits, which I can't even envision) to the private sector.

Now if they had a rent-a-pony program I have a niece who'd be all over that one.

Why is the city of Portland in the bike business? What an ADHD city council. What
a gross misunderstanding of what a municipal
government does.

What a random choice of a city project. "Hey guys, let's start a bike rental program and tweet about it."

Pave the dang streets, PBOT.

Bike rental is obviously a loser idea because bike shop after bike shop declines to rent bikes.

Given the state of city streets I at least hope they bought mountain bikes...

This proves that there really is no idea too stupid for Portland.

Re-reading this, I don't see where they anticipate any income from this venture. Shouldn't an attempt be made to at least break even? Aren't there going to be any charges that will eventually help recoup the original investment? And "only 1.8 million"? Cry me a river . . .

We also read that the program is awaiting mega-donations because the planners want to put a "complete system" into place all at once, not station by station. That almost sounded like it might be city-wide; maybe even extending into the hinterlands of east county. But wait . . . Blumenauer is quoted as saying that the project will be, "an important addition to the liveability of downtown." So, once again, it's all about the downtown core area?

I got hives reading about the promised, "2.9 million annual media value" for sponsors, including print and social media. That explains a hefty part of the budget, a portion designed to gladden the hearts of some advertising or public relations firm and young Twitterers looking for a cushy government position.

The patronage jobs would make modern Chicago blush. Alta is the subject of critical reporting in NYC for long delays and a questionable bidding process.

Question: if this was viable why didn't a private company go for it?

Jack, any chance you could summarize the Alta scandals in Chicago & NYC, and then
note that Alta's leadership has strong ties to City government and may have been awarded the bid improperly?

Corruption in PDX wears birkenstocks while corruption in Chicago wears expensive Italian loafers .. .

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