NABSA members and bikeshare are doing great things in their communities and we are spreading the word across our membership and beyond. The NABSA News highlights best practices, member stories, tech innovations, and more to improve your systems and to share our successes with the broader public. Our goal is to get you the information you need to have successful bike share systems.

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April 27, 2016


From the President – Nicole Freedman
Guest Author – Paul DeMaio
Member Spotlight – GREENbike, Bikeshare Hawaii
Webinar Recap – “Corporate Memberships & Sponsorships”
Recent Press

From the President
Nicole Freedman

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the NABSA newsletter! NABSA members and bikeshare are doing great things in their communities and we are spreading the word across our membership and beyond. The NABSA News will highlight best practices, member stories, tech innovations, and more to improve your systems and to share our successes with the broader public. Our goal is to get you, our members, the information you need to have successful bike share systems.

Like you, we’ve been busy since we saw many of you in Chicago last year for our annual conference. In December 2015, NABSA board members participated in a strategic planning session, using input provided by all our members. Based on the strategic planning session, we are focusing on the following areas:

  • PR & Communications – We all benefit when bikeshare is presented accurately and positively in the media. We will be working with a professional PR firm to help shape a positive message for all our systems. For instance, in March, the Washington Post ran a skewed op-ed regarding the costs and benefits of the Capital Bikeshare system. We helped DC counter the negative story and published a rebuttal in the Post a few days later. Our new project will get us out front on the PR effort and promote the benefits of bikeshare for both targeted audiences and the general public.
  • Data Collection and Sharing – There is a wealth of important data we all individually collect that can be beneficial to everyone. We recently conducted and reported back the results of our 2015 system surveyproviding valuable information on sponsorship, finances, membership, marketing, and more. We also supported Mitch Vars and his terrific work on the General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS), allowing developers to integrate realtime bikeshare data to app developers to make bikeshare even better. In 2016, we will be working with True Bearing to produce more sophisticated products including: a template survey that cities can distribute to members providing information that can be shared across systems, a more robust annual system survey, distributed data analysis that harnesses the power of hundreds of students across the country.
  • Best Practices Library – We are on track to become the one-stop shop for our members for key documents, having collected hundreds of RFP’s, operating and equipment contracts, sponsor proposals and contracts, regional MOA’s, feasibility studies, and more.
  • Advocacy – NABSA has identified four policy objectives for 2016:
    • Make it easier for local governments and non-profits to leverage private contributions and access federal transportation funds to build, expand, and operate bike sharing systems.
    • Increase the number of people and employers utilizing bike share as a transportation option by making bike share memberships eligible for pre-tax reimbursement for both employer and employee. And ensure that individuals can select to allocate a portion of their pre-tax commuter benefit to bike share and a portion to transit without having to choose one or the other.
    • Support the federal and local policy initiatives of key partners to build safe cycling infrastructure and encourage active transportation.
    • Ensure the structure of legislation passed by Congress to increase the use of public-private partnerships for building transportation is structured in a way that bikeshare can benefit from the program.
  • 2016 Annual Meeting – Our 2016 conference will be held Thursday, Nov. 10 through Friday, Nov. 11, with a special preliminary day for new bikeshare programs and those looking into starting them, as well as a set of technical and field workshops on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Look for more conference details soon!

This email dropped in your inbox is for you. Let us know what you’d like to see here and if you have a story to tell about your system, your community, or bikeshare in general. Then read about it in future issues!

Thanks for being a part of NABSA and for everything you do to make bikeshare great!

Guest Author
Paul DeMaio, Founder, Metrobike, LLC

The Need for Innovation

Bikeshare has successfully made its way into the transport landscape around much of the world. Now that nearly 1,000 systems have been established globally, the proof of concept was the easy part and the hard part is just beginning – broadening the service to people who don’t ride a bike and who are a majority of the population.
Bikeshare competes against other modes of transport that can be more convenient and easy, like the private automobile, taxis, and ride-hailing services. A cold bike seat is a long way from the heated seat of some cars, so bikeshare also must become more convenient and easy in order to attract new and keep existing customers. Innovation is key and it’s impressive to see what some visionary bikeshare services, operators, and vendors are doing towards this goal.
JCDecaux, operator of Paris’s Vélib’, is showing two great examples of innovation. They’re experimenting with both a pedelec (pedal electric) system, called e-vls, and bikes with automatic gear change. The pedelec bikes likely will require that one lease a specially designed battery to insert into the bike (as shown below). According to JCDecaux the batteries can cover up to 10 km (6 mi) at a maximum speed of 25 km/h (16 mph). On top of that, e-vls thankfully won’t increase the bike weight for those that aren’t using the pedelec feature.

Pedelec bikeshare bikes aren’t the evolution of bike-sharing, but rather a complementary service for those wanting a little extra assistance to get to their workplace, home, event, etc. without sweating or tiring themselves. It will surely bring new demographics of people into bikeshare that wouldn’t have considered using it previously as well as make the bikes more useful to existing customers. A complementary pedelec bikeshare feature will help shorten the distance between origin and destination that for some would otherwise be too far, too hilly, or too strenuous to do it without electric assistance. Pedelecs are one more reason now to take bikeshare and one less reason to not take a car.

According to my Bike-sharing Blog and Bike-sharing World Map co-author, Russell Meddin, “There are approximately 70 cities that have partial or full pedelec systems totaling about 9,400 pedelecs in public use service world-wide. Most notably there is Jincheng, China with 3,000 pedelecs; Madrid with 2,000; Milan with 1,000; Barcelona with 400; Sendai, Japan with 300; and Birmingham, USA with 100.” The number of municipalities and quantity of pedelec bikes surely will continue to grow.
JCDecaux’s Automatix automatic gear change trial is likely from SRAM’s Automatix and it has the bike shifting gears based on the rider’s speed, rather than the rider needing to know when to change gears to get the most efficient pedaling. This innovation keeps cycling simple for the majority of people.
Fare types that better match the needs of the public is another innovation that is sorely needed. As discussed on The Bike-sharing Blog previously, bikeshare needs fares that better match those of other transit systems. Let people pay for making one trip, rather than asking them to pay for a whole day of unlimited use. Very few systems charge a per minute or per trip fee, but thankfully they exist, like Montreal Bixi’s One Way Access and some Social Bicycles’ systems. It’s important that single trips are less expensive than the cost of riding a bus.
Integration with other transit modes is sorely needed to make bikeshare easy to switch to or from rail and bus. Let me use my regional transit smartcard on bikeshare, like Bordeaux innovated with Vcub. As many people now don’t leave home without their smartphone, let folks use their phone to check-out a bike instead of needing to also bring a fob or smartcard. London allows customers to pay by phone through their smartphone app and issues a PIN for the customer to release a bike. BCycle and RideScout are innovating to allow one to use a smartphone or Apple watch to both pay and unlock a bike.
The evolution of bikeshare is turning it from bike rental into a full-blown regional transit system that is one of the big transport players. The bikeshare industry needs to continue innovating to bring more customers, especially people who don’t bike, and would certainly not consider themselves a cyclist, into the fold and create more people simply who feel comfortable and safe on a bike. Two-wheel transit won’t reach its potential if it’s more bike than transit. It must be transit first and foremost that is on two wheels.Now let’s push bikeshare where it needs to go over the next decade with more amenities and by making it easier and more fun to use. The opportunity is enormous for bikeshare to have an even greater impact on cities, on peoples’ health, and on the environment than it presently does.

Member Spotlight

GREENbike, Salt Lake City

Last May when GREENbike expanded by 34% in SLC, ridership increased by 292% (see attached graph). And average daily checkouts at every station increased by 105%.
If you’re interested, check out our 2015 Annual Report!

In 2015, 30,000 people rode 200 GREENbikes more than 106,000 times in less than nine months (April – Dec). And we had more than 100,000 rides in less than eight months. More than two trips per-bike per-day (TBD) for the season with peak months near 3.5 TBD. And our 25 stations sold more than 34,000 annual and 24-hour passes.

Bikeshare Hawaii

Tantalus is a famous Honolulu landmark, with an infamous 4-miles-straight-up climb to the top. At the recent Tantalus Time Trial race, a bikeshare cyclist challenged a competitive triathlete runner in a race to the top. Who won? Read on to find out!

Webinar Recap

“Corporate Memberships and Sponsorships”
April 8, 2016

NABSA President Nicole Freedman was joined by Paul DeMaio (Capital Bikeshare/Metrobike LLC), Aaron Ritz (Indego), and Patrick Kelsey (Hubway). Each discussed how they are incentivizing corporate memberships and structuring corporate sponsorships to grow and sustain their systems. If you are a NABSA member, check out the KnowledgeShare portion of our website for the presentation slides and stream the video or audio of the entire webinar.


May 20: WEBINAR: Bikeshare & Equity
July 1: WEBINAR: Bikesharing on College Campuses
August 12: WEBINAR: Cost Savings
September 23: WEBINAR: TBA
November 4: WEBINAR: Transit Development Planning
November 10-11: NABSA ANNUAL MEETING – Austin, TX
December 16: WEBINAR: Bikeshare Equipment Lifecycle Planning

Recent Press

“Bikeshares Are Worth Investing In” – Washington Post, March 11, 2016



NABSA News Archive

April 27, 2016