kermit

Charlotte Bike Sharing

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Charlotte Center City Partners would be the only organization that receives public money that is participating in the bike share, although I believe they are primarily offering administrative support and not direct funding, but I could be wrong. However, that is only levied as a tiny tax in uptown and southend pretty much for amenities like this so I think it is not out of scope for them to do this.

I absolutely agree that Independence Park (obviously they dissed Presby because CMC is a sponsor) in Elizabeth and Central/Pecan in Midwood are no brainers for expansions. I would also like to see one on West Morehead/Summit area and NoDa. Once those are in place, it will be a much more common thing for me to grab a bike randomly to go those places.

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I went to use a bike after the DNC let out, but it said the station was closed. I didn't realize they close the b-cycle stations at night, although I guess it makes sense.

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Has anyone heard any feedback on how the bikeshare is going so far? (in terms of riders / membership)

I haven't seen anything official, but I see people riding them a good bit.

Seems to me that some stations get used a lot though and some get used very little.

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The East / West station is taking a beating during the Greek Festival. I walked by today to find that the docks were full and there were four extra (undocked and unlocked) bikes left at the sttaion. The bland street station was also full (but I didn't see any overflow there).

While there would certainly be drawbacks, I wonder if a temporary station (at Greek Fest in this case) for special events might make sense.

I also have to wonder if semi-demand 'pricing' could be introduced to help reduce station bunching. The software could send a text saying you would get a free half hour for a future ride (as an example) if you return your bike to xxxx station which has low inventory.

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I rode a bcycle from East/West down to Freedom park for festival in the park today. The station at Freedom park was full when I arrived (as expected) but Bcycle had staff members (or perhaps volunteers) who would pull bikes out of the dock in order to create space for new arrivals (like me). This staffing gesture went a long way to making me feel more comfortable using the system in high demand areas like today.

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I don't see a reference to new stations planned, just capacity tweaks, but the success is absolutely a good thing, and it seems that they could really benefit from additional stations.

I always forget to go into their smartphone app and "vote for location", which I am pretty sure gives them feedback for where they ought to add new stations. Some areas that I believe would be obvious choices would be:

Wesley Heights (Summit & Morehead)

Midwood (Central & Thomas)

Music Factory

NoDa (36th and Davidson)

Central Dilworth (Latta Park)

Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Belmont (Cordelia Park)

Queens University (Queens & Selwyn)

Regardless of any expansion possibilities, it is awesome that a city like Charlotte has ended up responding so well to the bike sharing program. Not only has it allowed visitors to get out a little more into the city, but I'm sure has saved countless short car trips which put a strain on parking resources, etc.

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It feels like they have removed about 40% of the bikes from the system for the winter. I have to say it feels like an improvement since I can be confident there is a space for me to return my bike anywhere.

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EDIT: Ooops. The new pricing appears to only apply to the student/faculty membership, not the annual membership for the general public.

 

...and I missed the bigger B-Cycle news (which the Observer did not mention). They are finally rationalizing their pricing to make it more in line with other cities. Based on the pricing at the CATS webpage it appears that [.edu users] you will now get the first 60 minutes of each checkout free. After that the fee is $4 per each additional half hour.

 

The additional 30 minutes free is is a significant improvement in pricing IMO. Now its viable [for .edu users] to take a bike to lunch even if there is not a dock near where you choose to eat.

 

https://secure.ridetransit.org/psales/p-32-charlotte-b-cycle-membership.aspx

Edited by kermit

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Update via NoDa neighborhood meeting - 

So this apparently snuck by around Christmas time, but BCycle memberships now allow for an hour worth of bike riding before you have to redock (or tack on the extra charges.) 

 

It was also said that 3 new stations will be active this Spring, though I don't know where yet. NoDa is being looked at for expansion, and right now it does qualify for certain grants that could help pay for new stations. Not surprisingly, they target areas where you have high density of residents, so a location near the Johnston Y and near 36th and Davidson (mercury and johnston/meck mills under construction) are two examples. The problem is finding 40' worth of real estate to drop a concrete pad down. They had hoped to add 5 more stations this spring, but apparently have had issues locating the last two. 

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At least one of the new stations is at W 4th & Cedar, in front of the J&W dorm. The concrete was poured yesterday.

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It's odd that they don't use the Coming Soon pin on their map on their website, nor have I seen any information on email.

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When I was in town a couple of weeks ago I had a chance to try out the system. I like it but my biggest issue is the lack of stations where I want to go.  I think at first a lot of people have the concept wrong: you rent a bike for the day then take it where ever. You rent it for 30 min. intervals to get from A to B, checking it back into stations. A dozen stations inside the 277 loop is overkill. When I lived in Charlotte I'd take my bike to NoDa and Plaza Midwood frequently, as it is an easy bike trip from uptown. It will be much more useful when they get stations in NoDa, Plaza Midwood, and FreeMore.

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More accurately, you have as many 30 minute trips as you want for an entire day. In selecting locations, it makes sense that they would pick a lot of stations in uptown and then expand from there. IMO, it's just a matter of time until Plaza-Midwood, NoDa, West Morehead, Dilworth, etc. get stations too.

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a rep from Char Meck neighborhood services said that the announcement about the new stations would be April 29th at Triple C. She would not share where the stations would be.

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came across a fresh concrete pad on the walk back from the ballgame on Sunday at Tryon & Morehead.

It's right outside the Charlotte Cigar Club; I'm sure their members will get a lot of use out of it.

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^ If you already have a membership then there is no charge for short rides (30 minutes for some memberships, 1 hr for others).

 

If you don't have a membership you must buy a day pass, not sure of the price (its sub $10)

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It's $8. That gets you unlimited 30-minute rides for the remainder of the day. If you're a member you pay an annual fee and then you get unlimited 1 hour rides. In both cases you start accruing charges after your time allotment.

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I love the expansion of the hours to midnight.  That will help for random evenings in getting home.

 

I wish they would use the coming soon pin on their maps, I guess they still aren't announcing where their expansion is.

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According to an email sent from Charlotte Bcycle today, the 3 new stations will be:

  • 4th & Cedar
  • S Tryon & Morehead
  • Romare Bearden Park (I've heard it may be located along MLK somewhere)

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Since you brought up Bearden Park....I rode my bike over to hang out with some friends at Belfast Mill last think, thinking "oh, it'll be easier if I just bike than drive."

 

Figured the park would have lots of bike racks. Nope. 0. Walked around for about 10 minutes trying to find a bike rack with no luck.

 

Had to end up locking my bike to a fence in the parking lot beside Brevard Court.

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