Melbourne’s bike share scheme is meant to start today, and the bike stations have been going in. I found this one at Federation Square, evidently almost ready to go, the only thing missing is the bikes:
Curiously, just across the road outside St Paul’s Cathedral is another one.
I wonder what the bogans who often hang around there will think of it. I hope the bikes are tough.
The other initial locations are mostly around Swanston Street, with a couple up near Melbourne Uni, and one at Southbank. Apparently it will eventually spread to some fifty locations.
I’m maintaining my previous cynical view of it. I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I just don’t see who would use it.
If you’re a tourist, you won’t have a helmet. You can use one of the existing tourist-oriented bike hire vendors. (This scheme seems to be designed not to put them out of business.)
If you’re a Melbourne local who arrived in the city by PT, your trip around the CBD by tram or bus or train is included in the price of your ticket, and is probably more convenient by PT than bike. Why would you pay more, and carry a helmet to do it by bike?
If you arrived in the city by car, I really doubt you’ll be carrying a helmet and hiring a bike.
If you work close to the city in a spot not well-covered by PT (perhaps somewhere like Fishermen’s Bend), even if you did carry a helmet, unless your destination also has a bike share station, you’d pay a fortune to have the bike at work all day. You’re more likely to bring your own bike on the train.
There is one possible group I can see: CBD residents, but only if they are of the mind to ride a hired bike (not one they own themselves; perhaps if they have limited space in their flat), bring their own helmet, and if they are making a trip that was genuinely easier by bike than other means. And it would have to be a trip to the vicinity of another bike share station — all highly unlikely with the initial stations, given they’re almost all parallel to Swanston Street, which has a tram every minute or so.
The helmet thing — the government claims to have a solution: ”very cheap” helmets would be available to people who joined the bike scheme. He did not specify how much the helmets would cost. Helmets would also be available at city shops near the bike stations. But it’s not yet clear what this means: how much is “very cheap” and if that means shared helmets or buying a cheap one if you’ve forgotten to bring your own.
I may be proven wrong, but get the feeling the bike share scheme may turn out to be a big waste of (taxpayers’) money.
It’s part of the plan.
- Update lunchtime: The Age: On your bike: public hire scheme hits CBD — Melbourne is the only city in the world with compulsory helmet laws to have launched a bike share scheme.