Bixi Bike 2010

Readers may recall an earlier post about Ottawa-Gatineau having 50 bixi-bike stations in 2010.

Recall that 4 stations were set up with a joint program of the City of Ottawa and Gatineau, coordinated and operated (and paid for?) by the NCC. BixiBike are self-service bike rental racks that are installed around the city for people to grab a bike and go (and hopefully return the bikes). They are all the fad in major cities worldwide.

In 2009, the four stations generated 5361 trips; averaging 50-60 trips per day during the short operating season.

The 2010 plan is for a capital expenditure (investment) of $3 to 4 million; and an operating budget of $1.25 to 1.7million.

Anticipated rental revenue is $2.2 to $2.5million from 50 stations and a rental pool of 500 bikes. Hopefully the trial program in 2009 worked out some of the kinks. A lot of progress had to be made by the earliest innovators in these schemes to improve the rack security and ensure the bikes are returned or not stolen.

Other complicated factors include ensuring the stations are conveniently located, at the right distance apart (if your station is full/empty, you gotta go to another station), and that it is practical to cycle between the stations without seeming to encourage cyclists on the most dangerous roads.

Presumably local business BIAs such as WestWellie, Chinatown, and Preston BIA have been lobbying for bixibike stations in their business districts.

Assuming 2.5million revenue from 500 bikes, that is $5000 in revenue per bike for a system that has an operating cost of, say, 1.5million, or $3000 per bike per season. It would be nice to see one form of public transit once again turning a profit.

All numbers from informal notes taken by others at the Roads, Cycling Advisory Committee meeting. Use with caution.