Maturity of Bike Share Systems

Bike Sharing Takes Off by Statista
Bike Sharing Takes Off by Statista

I recently saw the above info graphic with an article in US News: The Exploding Growth of Bike Sharing

But if you look at the number of systems, the rate of growth is actually slowing

Cumulative Number Added

2002

7

7

2003

11

4

2004

13

2

2005

17

4

2006

25

8

2007

62

37

2008

128

66

2009

209

81

2010

328

119

2011

431

103

2012

497

66

This is a good thing in many respects. At some point we need to stop adding systems and start making them bigger, inter-connecting and inter-operating, and even merging them. Ideally I should have one subscription that can be used on any system in the world (I have said similar for transit passes, see Club Transit), and bikes could be borrowed and deposited anywhere. Very few people will of course take a bikeshare bike from Minneapolis to Chicago, but Minneapolitans should automatically be able to use the Chicago system (and vice versa). And like the electric inter-urban users of yore (one could take an electric inter-urban (trolley) from Elkhart Lake Wisconsin to Oneonta, New York, it was said), one should be able to bike share between major places, even if transferring bikes periodically. So while the chart does not represent what it purports to represent, the number of bike share users (and bike share bicycles) may still be growing at an increasing rate, i.e. we may still be on the left side of the S-Curve for the technology, even if the number of systems, like the number of cities (and railroads and airports) is not growing as much or at all.

2 thoughts on “Maturity of Bike Share Systems”

  1. I think that it would more effective to integrate bike share systems into public transport systems. Bike share should be just another public transport option which is included in the price of a fare ticket.

    When Bixi first launched in Montreal, they promised us that our Bixi keys would work in any other Bixi system anywhere in the world. Well, I have tried in DC, Toronto, and London. The key may fit (not in London), but there still are some ‘communication’ issues to work out….

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