Regional Bike Share Coordination is an ongoing initiative to explore ways to expand bike sharing, the practice of making bicycles available for short-term use at no or low cost, within the region. Bike share programs are a way for communities to reduce automobile congestion, expand access to destinations, enhance local mobility, and to improve environmental and personal health outcomes. Communities vary the way their bike share program works through specific objectives, availability of financial and staff resources, and the degree to which technology is applied to the system. In the DVRPC region, we have examples of, and interest in, two bike share program types: bike libraries and conventional bike share programs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are biking as a way to commute affordably, safely, and distanced from others. DVRPC is hoping to assist essential workers and those caring for others share in the opportunity to bicycle to their activities. We've partnered with other Bike Match cities to connect people who have an extra bike in ready-to-ride condition with others who need one in a contactless match through #GreaterPHLBikeMatch. Complete either the Have a Bike or Need a Bike short forms on our BikeMatch webpage and let us know if you have any questions. We'll be in touch with you over email if we're able to match you with another participant.
Have questions? Email us at: email@example.com
Bike libraries are a low-cost, simple, but effective way for communities (municipalities or University and corporate campuses) to provide a service of lending bikes. Bike libraries operate much like a traditional library. Some common characteristics of a bike library are:
- Located in suburban, or smaller communities where residential and employment densities are medium to low and destinations are dispersed
- Use non-smart bikes and storage
- Typically free or very low-cost rentals
- Paid for with proof of id (residency) or cash
- Bikes are donated or low-cost
- Check out and repair services are provided by local jurisdiction staff (i.e. municipal staff) or volunteers
- Storage and maintenance tools are typically donated or drawn from existing resources
- Rentals are for days, months or up to a year
- Bikes are picked up and returned to the same location
- Check out requires a waiver signed and/or an obligation to bring a bike in for repairs periodically
Examples within the region:
Partnership TMA's bike share program offers free bike share daily rentals from eight different bike-share "pods" located in community facilities like libraries and Borough Halls.
The Borough of Collingswood sponsors the program which uses recycled bicycles and volunteer mechanics to provide bikes to residents for an extended period (months to a year) for a minimal yearly donation.
DVRPC is frequently contacted by those considering starting a bike share program in suburban or rural locations to brainstorm possibilities. Due to a bike librarys vast applicability throughout the region, DVRPC intends to host a Bike Library Panel Session in Summer/Fall 2020 to share examples and inspiration throughout the region to those looking to start, or improve, their own bike library programs. To receive notice of a future event, share your contact information here:
Conventional Bike Share Programs
Conventional bike share programs are generally located where density is sufficient to warrant more than one trip per day per bike such that management of the fleet is required to support its operations. University campuses and cities typically have sufficient density of users to support conventional bike share programs of varying scales. Conventional bike share programs generally have the following characteristics:
- Smart, kiosk payment interface
- Pay with bank card
- Require significant capital costs for bikes, and docks and/or stations if it’s a docked system
- Require operator costs to redistribute bikes
- On-board GPS technology
- Rentals for minutes or hours
- Self-serve stations or bicycles (docked or dockless)
- Defined service area
Examples within the region:
The City of Philadelphia's Indego
Indego is the stationed bike share program serving City of Philadelphia residents. Indego has over 1,000 bikes that can be rented by purchasing a pass or using a credit card at any of their kiosks; passholders tap their key fobs to rent bikes. It’s owned and operated by Bicycle Transit Systems, a bike share operator, and is sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.
West Chester University has a bike share program offered to students, faculty and staff. Bike rentals are free for the first three hours and then $2/hour up to $20/ride. Bikes must be locked if stopped somewhere other than a docking station and must be returned to end rides at a dock.
DVRPC is contacted by many places within the region that want a bike share program, but their costs, point to point trip types and density requirements limit their applicability. To investigate if bike share operators are interested in servicing locations within the region, and in coordination of those systems, DVRPC issued a Request for Information on Availability of Vendors to Provide a Regionally-Coordinated Bike Share Program(s) for Places within the DVRPC Region [0.5 MB pdf] in November 2019. Submissions were due in December 2019. DVRPC is in the process of identifying municipalities within the region that have the greatest likelihood to operate a successful bike share program with the intention of convening representatives of those locations in summer/fall 2020 to discuss possible next steps.
Institute for Transportation Development Policy’s (ITDP) Bike Share Planning Guide National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation [0.5 MB pdf].
Note, at this time, scooter share programs are not legal under Pennsylvania vehicular code, though policymakers are considering legislation to allow for low-speed electric scooters. Electric scooters are legal in New Jersey, though no program exists within the DVRPC region. DVRPC will continue to evaluate the opportunities and trade-offs within the region of emerging modes.