WASHINGTON D.C. — As cities across the country begin to implement bikeshare systems, and as they garner more press, we begin to gather statistics about their usage as well as begin to question, "Just who do these programs serve anyway?"
As recently reported in reason, Washington, D.C.'s bikeshare program, which received a $16 million subsidy for construction, is primarily being used by the rich and affluent. They say there is nothing wrong with that, and we here at Mode Shift would have to agree.
However, when 16 percent of that funding was dedicated to developing a system that would serve "the unique transportation challenges faced by welfare recipients and low-income persons," we all might wonder by 95 percent of users have college degrees and more than adequate salaries.
As reported by Mode Shift in May, Fender Bender's Bicycle Lending Library is refurbishing bicycles to lend during this year's Allied Media Conference. Sarah Sidelko, one of Fender Bender's organizers, says so far they have 30 bicycles ready for the trial program, which is a kind of bikeshare, but is adaptable to different neighborhoods, works on a smaller scale, and costs much less to implement.
So, as the video questions, do we need large government subsidies to make bikesharing work? Or can we build and organize our own lending libraries?