Crain’s: Finalists Chosen for NYC Bike-Share

Crain’s reports that the city has narrowed down the proposals to two, maybe three, finalists to operate a bike-share system which could add about 10,000 public bikes at 600 stations to NYC’s transportation mix:

Sources confirm two finalists: Alta Bicycle Share, based in Portland, Ore., and B-Cycle, owned by Wisconsin bicycle maker Trek, health insurer Humana and advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Alta did Washington’s bike-share program, among others, while B-Cycle built bike-share stations in San Francisco, Chicago and other cities.

It is unclear whether a third proposal, by BYKNYC, has been rejected. Founder Aaron Marks, a former analyst at Goldman Sachs and hedge fund SAC Capital, declined to comment on the status of the bids, as did representatives from Alta and B-Cycle. City officials anticipated short-listing three companies if their proposals measured up.

The biggest and most well-known B-Cycle system launched in Denver last year. Alta has previously teamed up with the Public Bike System Company, which launched the Bixi system in Montreal and supplies London’s Barclays Cycle Hire, on D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare. Alta declined to comment to Streetsblog on whether the Public Bike System Company is a member of their team.

The BYKNYC proposal, whose status is uncertain according to Crain’s, would differ significantly from the others:

Developed by German railroad company Deutsche Bahn, it allows bikes to be locked to any fixed structure. Users can unlock bikes by calling a phone number and entering a code. The city plan calls for installing bike racks throughout the city so that bicycles don’t end up on random street corners.

The bike-share RFP was announced last November and bids were due February 16. A pilot “street test” is scheduled to launch later this year and the full system could go live in spring 2012.

NYCDOT could not confirm the Crain’s report.

  • ED

    No mention of Worksman Cycles? NYC’s own?

  • Danny G

    Read the article in Crain’s, don’t think Worksman made the cut.

  • Westchesterite

    This will have a huge impact on protected bike lanes. As soon as people have readily-available, zero initial investment bikes, they will be wildly popular.

  • J

    I think a big detractor to biking is storage. If you live in a fifth floor walk-up, hauling a bike up and down all those stairs is impractical and locking up on the street is not an attractive option either. Bike share will allow people in this type of situation to easily try biking with no investment, and no radical rearrangement of their living situation. Very exciting!

  • Joe R.

    J, I’ve been saying exactly that for ages except home storage isn’t my problem (private home and garage here). Rather, it’s storage where I might want to go. I’ve only been a recreational rider thus far, barring a short stint where I bike commuted sometimes to a job about 3 miles away in 1987-88. The reason is no good bike parking/storage facilities exist in the places I might take my bike to (mostly stores which are too far to walk/not convenient to public transit). With bike share, undoubtedly you’ll have more stores offering some place to keep their customer’s bikes (or even the bike share company having drop off points conveniently located near retail). Granted, this will only be in Manhattan, but perhaps the idea that some customers bike will spread to the outer boroughs. I don’t ask for much. A simple small rack inside where the security guard usually stands is sufficient. I just want to know my bike will be there when I’m done shopping. My brother had 3 bikes stolen in the 1980s when he ran errands by bikes. That cooled my off to the whole idea. A lamp post or tree or fence isn’t bike parking. Even an outdoor rack isn’t something I’d take my chances with. Anyone else for whom the lack of secure bike parking is the single largest deterrent to using their bike more for errands?

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr

    I have no knowledge of anything going on with bike share (and that I haven’t ridden on any other than D.C.’s Capital Bike Share)

    That said, I was just down in D.C. for the Bike Summit and the system and the bikes there are a dream. Whomever is chosen I just hope it is as good or better. So amazing to see so many people using them morning, noon, night.

  • Albert

    I agree with Joe R about bicycle parking being an errand deterrent. When I’m bicycling home, more often than not I’ll decide to pass by some store rather than stop and futz with the whole locking thing. How much new business could be generated in this town if it were as simple & easy to park a bicycle as it is to keep riding!

    (Notwithstanding the current ticketing blitz.)

  • You missed the report in Benepes Bike blog that came out before Crain’s story and nailed the finalists.

  • Stan

    It’s not just people in 5th floor walkups. Most buildings don’t have bicycle storage and people don’t like keeping a bike in their apartment unless they are dedicated cycleists. A bike share program will make a huge difference for millions of casual bikers in New York.

  • John

    Mark my words, if the bike sharing program is launched and continues to operate for 5+ years in NYC, according to the current time schedule set by NYCDOT, it will be a major set back for NYC’s livable city/streets movement.

  • Mike

    John, why? I think the opposite.

  • As one of the six proposals for the NYC BikeShare Program, BikeValet was considered to have little chance to make it into the finals due to our not having the funding or prototype ready for evaluation. Our robotic and fully Automated Bicycle Parking System was the only proposal to include public bicycle parking into our plan. The ABPS is capable of parking a Childs, Adult, Tandem, Cargo and three wheel adaptive bikes. That capability allowed the ABPS to offer the same variety of bikes for BikeShare. The modular design could be scaled to fit as few as 20 bikes (in our bus stop design) to a many as 5,000 bikes (in our major transport hub and sports arena design).

    When we met with NYC DOT, they decided to use some of our capabilities in the RFP Specifications. ADA Compliance, GPS, 100% operation off the grid…..all came from BikeValet. Our GPS was 3&4G compatible and from the smart phone, online, or from the touch screen GUI, a user could create an itinerary (in most foreign languages) and download it to the bike’s GPS which would route the user around town, along the bike paths (in the right direction) while listing all BikeValet stations along the way. Perhaps too much technology was considered a fault? Who knows.

    Our proposal also included the development and manufacturing to be kept in the NY. Our franchise business model would have allowed property owners, developers and NYC ALL to share in the proceeds. I guess our proposal for 49,000 bikes and 980 sites in the five boroughs seemed to be a bit optimistic, but that scale was described in the BikeShare Opportunities NYC document.

    I read the comments about bike parking……imagine unlimited bike parking at all locations for under $1.50 a day. That additional revenue stream was only one of the factors that separated BikeValet from the others

    I’m not bitter, just disappointed that I could not find the financial backing and involvement of others to get this “disruptive technology” off the ground in NYC. There are other locations, including Europe where it may get the traction needed.

    I’d like to offer all other competitors the best of luck in the finals.

    Kind regards,

    Perry North

    BikeValet Ltd.

  • John


    I’m going to assume a very high majority of people also agree with you. Nevertheless, I stand extremely confident behind my claim, in fact, I would bet everything I have on it, minus the items necessary to live a simple life. The livable city/streets movement involves fixing many parts in order to achieve its goals. If one part is not fixed properly due to a decision to have it fixed in a rushed manner, then eventually it will directly or indirectly have an adverse affect on all the other parts. Hence, the livable city/streets movement in NYC will be set back significantly if the bike sharing program is launched prematurely. The pain being felt by NYCDOT right now by the current opposition is much less than the pain they’re going to feel by the future opposition if they commit to launching the bike sharing program according to their current time schedule. There is a bright side to all of this, whether I’m wrong or right, other cities will benefit either way, but if I’m right they will benefit immensely.


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