City Narrows Bike-Share Program Proposals to Two (or Three?) Bids

04/01/2011 9:49 AM |

Near-future New York?

  • Near-future New York?

Last November the city put out a request for proposals to launch the city’s bike-share program (which was first promised us back in August ’09), and now Crain’s reports that the six original proposals have been pared down to a final two or three.

The two sure-fire finalists for the New York City bike-share system, which could cost as much as $200 million and will launch with a pilot program this summer, are Alta Bicycle Share, the Portland, Oregon company that did Washington, D.C.’s federally-funded bike-share system; and B-Cycle, which built bike-share stations and programs in San Francisco, Chicago and Denver.

A third program by German company Deutsche Bahn called BYKNYC, has neither been officially named a finalist nor eliminated from the review process. That group’s program differs significantly from the two definite finalists because it doesn’t involve so many stations, and allows riders to leave bikes locked up wherever they please, and unlock them by cell phone (kind of like this).

The city is planning for an initial build-out with 600 bike stations in Manhattan below 60th Street, so the one proposal that doesn’t involve stations seems to be at a disadvantage there. An important element of each proposal—much less interesting than funny names and wacky designs—is each group’s plan for managing sponsorships and user fees, as the program will be entirely privatized.

The final selection will have to be announced soon, as this summer’s pilot program involves setting up 30 stations and letting 300 shareable bikes loose on Manhattan Streets. The full bike-share program is expected to launch around this time next year—and expand to Brooklyn… sometime?