However, a Philadelphia suburb, Collingswood, is now well into its first year of a small bike-sharing program at the cost of $25 per year.
What’s interesting about this program is that it was started independently of any large-scale infrastructure that would normally be required, like in-street bike locks or electronic kiosks.
The Philadelphia Inquirer explains:
In October, about 40 riders circled the borough’s Knight Park on the rejuvenated bicycles - spray-painted an easily identifiable lime green - and their own wheels to introduce the program.
Since then, about 65 residents have signed up, paying the $25 annual fee to “check out” one bike for up to a year or to exchange cycles as often as they like. They’re encouraged to wear a helmet and offered discounts on locks and water bottles. Everill e-mails reminders about tune-ups. In all, Leonard estimates, about 250 people have participated.
Bike sharing - generally geared toward short-term use - is popular all over Europe. Sturdy cycles are locked to kiosks spread throughout cities such as Oslo, Barcelona, and Vienna. Paris launched one of the largest programs in 2007 with 20,000 bicycles. Programs are run by nonprofit groups and city governments, as well as for-profit companies such as Clear Channel Outdoor, that participate in exchange for advertising on shelters or benches.
At least 70 U.S. universities, including Drexel, run free and rental programs, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Washington, D.C., launched SmartBike last summer. Boston and San Francisco are investigating proposals, as is Philadelphia. A feasibility study is due to Mayor Nutter by fall.