This weekend Bixi, a Canadian bikesharing company, held a friendly meet-n-greet in Golden Gate Park. They’ve been up and running in Montreal for several months, and now they’re touring California, hoping to drum up some interest. It’s a nice little scheme: you can just show up to a pod and swipe a credit card to check out a bike; dues-paying members get an unlimited number of free 30-minute shares; and you can drop off the bike at any pod you like.
This is not to be confused with Gavin’s proposed itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bikesharing greenwash, which, like his doomed CultureBus, will be too limited and impractical to gain foothold. Gavin’s plan will place just a few hard-to-find bicycles at remote outposts; whereas Bixi’s capable of rolling out much broader service. Since they started operations early this year, they’ve seen around 100,000 unique trips. And they have cost-neutral schemes for cities, so depending on implementation, taxpayers might not even have to foot a bill.
Besides which, we’ll be surprised if Gavin’s plan even sees the light of day — a quick scan of The Old-Timey News Archive (aka SF Gate) shows that he’s been making bikesharing promises for years with nothing to show for it. And since he made his announcement in February, work on the project has slowed to a crawl. So don’t hold your breath.
To be fair, the bike injunction has tied the city’s hands for the last two years. It’s nearly lifted, though: just a few more bureaucratic hoops to jump through. The only looming obstacles are Mary Miles and Catherine Liddell, who have filed appeals, probably because they hate the idea of sharing. Catherine claims that her only objection is to proposed modifications on 2nd Street, but Jamision casts doubt on her motives.
If a bikesharing program did materialize in SF, it would probably fall under the jurisdiction of the MTA, also known as Muni, since their bus shelter contract requires that Clear Channel provide bikesharing at Muni’s request. Oh God — Muni and Clear Channel? Yeah, this can’t fail.