Melbourne Bike Share usage increases at five stations

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By Kanika Sood

RACV claims bike usage at five Melbourne Bike Share stations increased by 132 per cent shortly after it relocated them in May this year.

The stations were moved from CBD to Cities of Port Phillip and Yarra.

RACV Motoring and Mobility General Manager Gordon Oakley said the move was in response to introduction of the free tram zone.

The new free tram zone was introduced in January, 2015 and covers CBD and Docklands.

“The (new) free tram zone has had a positive impact on overall traffic but a negative impact on bike share usage,” Mr Oakley said.

“We worked closely with our client (Public Transport Victoria) to investigate alternatives to the Free Tram Zone. As we have had some success with stations in Cities of Port Phillip and Yarra, we decided to work closely with these councils to determine the most logical spot to relocate the stations,” he said.

Mr Oakley said the subsequent increase in traffic at the five stations was “significantly better” than estimates.“We had hoped for a 20 per cent to 30 per cent increase,” he said.

He says 30-40 year olds are the target demographic for the program and half the people using the blue bikes are people commuting to work.

Mr Oakely said 1,000+ ride days occurred in the summer when there are many tourists in St Kilda. “It makes sense to have bikes where people will actually use them.”

Melbourne may see relocation of more Bike Share stations in near future. “We will review the stations again in September . . . perhaps a further 3-5 (station) moves in the coming year,” Mr Oakley said.

Melbourne Bike Share uses Bixi (portmanteau of bike and taxi) bikes designed by a Montreal-based company. The system is deployed in about 20 cities around the world. It was ranked 19th in Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2008. It came to Melbourne in 2010, after winning several sustainability and design awards.

Melbourne Bike Share currently has 50 stations and 600 bikes. Average ride length is 17 minutes and riders can use an app (Spot Cycle) to find their nearest station as well as bike availability.

Users can rent the blue bikes for $3 a day or $8 a week. Annual subscriptions cost $60.


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