Sunday, June 20, 2010

First sighting of damage.

Sooner or later, we were going to see damage to the bikes, but I never expected to see damage this quickly.

As you can see the left hand peddle has broken off – I’ll assume accidentally as the peddle was left with the bike. I was interested to see if the rider who last used the bike bothered to press the maintenance button to alert the Melbourne Bike Share team to the issue.

Sadly, when I used my key and the bike was released to me, then imminently returned with maintenance alerted. It’s unfortunate that the bike was damaged but I find it hard to describe how silly it is that the person who used it last didn’t just press the maintenance button to have the problem resolved for all users of the system.

I do realise its still a new system and people are still learning how to use it but the instructions about damaged bikes is displayed on the handlebar...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

BikeShare.Tel now has a Bike Availability Feature!

BikeShare.Tel now has the ability to show you how many Bikes are available for use. It also allows you to see if there are any Free Docks at a station, so if you intend to ride somewhere you’ll know if you’re able to park.

Hopefully this means that you won’t ever need to use the extra 15 minutes option!

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Difference of Opinion...

Its been interesting, reading blogs and seeing the views that are being shared, the major concerns so far are:

- Lack of Urban Density
- The system being political spin.
- The cost of journeys being higher then that of public transport.
- And the need for Helmets!

Urban Density hasn’t been seen as that large of an issue but Sara Phillips, writing for the ABC has mentioned that Melbourne, unlike a number of European countries does not have the same urban density that has allowed other bike sharing systems to be as successful as they are.

The cost of journeys being higher then that of public transport!
At present the system is meant to be for short trips across the city, because of this the cost of riding does increase dramatically after the first 30 minutes. The issue here is that outside of the CBD, Melbourne is quite large. For example if someone wanted to cycle from the Docklands to St. Kilda - the trip would go beyond the free 30 minute timeframe.

The Melbourne Urbanist has suggested that changing the fee structure would promote longer journeys and increase participation with tourists. Another suggestion would be to average the typical time between two stations and if the ride is beyond the standard 30 minute time frame, allow for the system not to penalise the rider when the bike is returned.

And the biggest issue that people appear to be concerned about is the fact that a helmet is required.
It appears that people believe this is the largest hurdle that will determine the success of the Melbourne bike sharing system. Unfortunately, laws in relation to the rental of helmets means that people need to buy or bring their own helmet to ride.

Once again The Melbourne Urbanist suggested that only Victorians should be required to wear helmets. There has also been suggestions that helmets should not be required when using the bike sharing system.

The Age has written that the helmet law will act as a positive deterrent stopping non-cyclists from using the system and allowing drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to remain safe.

My suggestion would be to change the laws in relation to the rental of helmets, at present helmets need to be inspected before another rider can use it. It would be far better to have a program similar to the Test and Tag system most businesses in Australia use as part of their OH&S policy.

For example, instead of inspection after each use - it would be better for helmets to be inspected during predetermined intervals, identified with a barcode/serial and logged. A automated helmet rental system can then be implemented and allow for a greater uptake of impulse riding.

If anyone has any other ideas, I would love to hear them.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I was gonna write a review, but...

I was going to write a review about the Melbourne Bike Share program, but someone else has already written a great article which already highlights the pros and cons.

Jump over to CycleStyle and have a read.

Granted, the review highlights the need to use a helmet and questions the success of the system. The same issues are being discussed on the Bicycle Victoria forums. Personally I believe that helmets are a must - apart from traffic in the city, there is also the issue of tram tracks. The wheels of almost any bike can get stuck in the tracks accidentally and cause the rider to fall off the bike.

I have seen this happen to fellow riders and almost had it happen to myself.

Welcome to the Bike Share Melbourne blog!

Hi everyone and welcome to Bike Share Melbourne!

Bike Share Melbourne is a unofficial blog watching the new Melbourne Bike Share program that has just launched. At present, the site will be used for updates in relation to new stations that are opening up across the city of Melbourne as the project expands.

To help with this, I have also created a mobile optimised site that lets you use your phone to find the bike share stations around the city.

The site is http://BikeShare.Tel and you can either visit it on your computer or through your phone. BikeShare.Tel will provide you with a list of Melbourne Bike Share locations and places where helmets can be purchased.
My hope is to allow casual users of the Melbourne Bike Share program to be confident in knowing they won’t be wasting time trying to find a bike station.

Please feel free to suggest any ideas on how we can make BikeShare.Tel better!