That’s right, free! How many usable bikes can you buy for 100 million? We are blowing it here, folks!
Turn it into a non profit essential services type of thing, have volunteers do repairs and other types of necessary work. Create an honour system that would make Bixi, and by extension, Montreal, the envy of the world. All we are doing once again is sending the world the message that we can’t seem to do anything right, and that is, like the Tremblay administration itself, very boring and predictable and totally inefficient, not to mention embarrassing and bad for urban morale!
The whole world is watching.
Council approves $108-million in loans to finance Bixi expansion
The 100 million is a loan. Bixi doesn’t cost the city that much, and taxpayers haven’t paid that much. Also, it doesn’t cost that much for riders, either, 78$/year and free ain’t that much of a difference.
The biggest issue of bixi is one of transparency, what they do and how the organization works.
If free voluntary honor-based bicycle sharing doesn’t really work for universities, how could it work for a whole city?
Yeah, as appealing as creating a free bike system is I can’t imagine it working. All it takes is a very small group of people intent on stealing, repainting and reselling the bikes to ruin the whole thing.
Its an interesting thought experiment though. If we consider BIXI as a 2nd generation bike sharing system we can begin to imagine next steps, 3rd or 4th generation moving towards something that may be free(ish).
Many public transit systems actually spend more money on fare enforcement than they gain in revenue from fares sold. Imagine if the Metro was free!
Think differently people. I like it.
Also, re: transparency. I see no reason why in the 21st century when all accounting is done on computers why all government programs and budgets can’t be published online for all to see. I’d even go a step further and say that anyone who gets a contract with the government as part of their contract is obligated to open up their books, at least for that particular project.
I’ve organized a couple of arts events here in town and published the event budget shortly afterwards so that people could see where their ticket money went. Does wonders for trust and accountability and a sense of involvement. Of course in a city this corrupt (or incompetent, take your pick) transparency must be terrifying to those in power.
I couldn’t let this free bike proposal slip by without a blast from the past:
White bicycle plan: Initiated by Luud Schimmelpenninck, the white bicycle plan proposed the closing of central Amsterdam to all motorised traffic, including motorbikes, with the intent to improve public transport frequency by more than 40% and to save two millions guilders per year.
. . .
The Provos planned for the municipality to buy 20,000 white bikes per year, which were to be public property and free for everybody to use. After the plans were rejected by the city authorities, the Provos decided to go ahead anyway. They painted 50 bikes white and left them on streets for public use. The police impounded the bikes, as they violated municipal law forbidding citizens to leave bikes without locking them. After the bikes had been returned to the Provos, they equipped them all with combination locks and painted the combinations on the bicycles.
We do make things complicated for ourselves. But I do love the idea of the combinations being right there!