Bicycle Network: Better Transport
1 The Melbourne scheme evolves
Follow the evolution of Melbourne public scheme here.
$5 helmet vending trial
13 October 2010. The State Government has launched a trial of helmet vending machines to support the roll-out of the Melbourne Bike Share scheme.
Helmets can be obtained for five dollars, and when returned to a 7-Eleven store, the user can get three dollars back.
The 7-Eleven stores will also stock the helmet at stores across the city.
The helmets meet the Australian Standard for safety.
Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas said that while there has been a steady uptake of Australia’s first public bike hire scheme, there had been feedback from the community asking for greater availability of helmets.
“We have always said we would consider a range of helmet solutions for Melbourne Bike Share and we expect this trial will go some way to help make the scheme more accessible.”
Mr Pallas said two vending machines would be trialled at two of the most popular bike stations at Southern Cross Station and Melbourne University for three months.
“We will use feedback from this trial to determine the best permanent solution to providing more helmets for people using Melbourne Bike Share.
“The Brumby Labor Government is building a better transport system and we understand how important cycling is as a viable, sustainable and accessible travel option.
“We are committed to reducing people’s dependence on cars and promoting cycling as a legitimate transport choice,” Mr Pallas said.
Helmets are also available as part of corporate memberships and annual subscriptions, as well as at selected local CBD retail outlets located near the bike stations.
The $5 million Melbourne Bike Share scheme was officially launched at the end of May this year and continues to grow in popularity.
“The number of people riding these bikes is going up 30 per cent every month and we expect that with the warmer weather and the new helmet availability, these numbers will go up even further.
As of Monday morning 11 October, Melbourne Bike Share has been used for more than 20,700 trips and has almost 650 subscribers.
Melbourne BikeShare out there
15 October 2010. The roll-out of Melbourne's blue BikeShare system is accelerating, with about 450 bikes now on the streets.
Launched in mid-winter, the scheme has been gradually expanded as the various solar power and wireless communications, rental and stock re-balancing systems have been tested and adjusted.
The system operator, RACV, hopes to have all 600 bikes on the road for the peak summer season.
Establishing the stations on appropriate sites has not proved straightforward. Although the stations are easily re-locatable, many of the sites with the highest demand were not viable due to other factors such as pre-existing street furniture.
In other cities bike sharing stations are frequently located on roads in converted car parking spaces, but in Melbourne this was considered a safety risk.
However more locations have been identified, including some in the City of Port Phillip.
RACV is gearing up its marketing campaign in anticipation of warmer weather ahead. It will be working with Bicycle Network Victoria on a special campaign to recruit corporate members and get employees riding the bikes to get around the city.
Melbourne bike share opens
31 May 2010. The first 100 bikes of the Melbourne BikeShare initiative have hit the streets of inner Melbourne.
The first ten stations were switched on along the CBD's north-south axis.
The remaining 50 bike stations and 600 bikes will be rolled out to other locations in the next few weeks.
The first ten station locations are at: Melbourne Arts Centre Precinct, Hamer Hall, Southgate; Federation Square; corner Flinders Street and Swanston Street; City Square, Swanston Street; Bourke Street Mall, 205 Bourke Street; Bourke Street Mall – GPO, Elizabeth Street; The State Library of Victoria; RMIT University, Franklin Street; Melbourne University, Swanston Street; and Melbourne University, Tin Alley.
Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas said the Government was building a better transport system and understand how important cycling was as a viable, sustainable and accessible travel option.
"People can sign-up for yearly subscriptions on-line or simply purchase a daily or weekly subscription from kiosks located at the bike stations, Mr Pallas said.
People can subscribe to the system for as little as $50 a year, with a daily subscription costing just $2.50.
For more information about Melbourne Bike Share or to purchase a yearly subscription visit www.melbournebikeshare.com.au
See a video of the new stations here. Visit the official bike share website by clicking here.
31 March 2010. Melbourne's BikeShare bikes have completed manufacture in Montreal and are on a ship bound for Melbourne.
They will be on the streets in late May.
The 600 bikes are being supplied by Canadian bike manufacturer, Devinci. The company is renowned in Canada for its wide range of bikes, as well as the Bixi public bike design.
The bikes will undergo final assembly in Melbourne by Bicycle Superstore, which has won the tender for assembly and maintenance of the Melbourne blue bikes.
Ten bikes are being air-freighted out in advanced of the shipped bikes to enable training and familiarisation for the local team.
RACV has appointed its BikeShare Cordinator, Michelle George, and its partner, Alta Bike Share, has appointed its Melbourne Operations Manager, Peter Hoban, previously with Flexicar.
The Melbourne BikeShare team is now busy planning the locations of the 50 bike stations that will be positioned around the city.
Melbourne's share bikes revealed
17 March 2010. The bike to be used in Melbourne's shared bike scheme has been revealed publicly for the first time. They will be on the streets at the end of May.
The scheme, operated jointly by RACV and Alta Bicycle Share, will be known as Melbourne Bike Share.
The bikes are blue with strong Melbourne branding. RACV and Victorian Government logos are present, but not conspicuous.
Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas said today the first 100 bikes and the first ten bike stations would be launched on May 31 this year.
“The early set-up means people have a great opportunity to try the system along one corridor before the system expands to 600 bikes across inner Melbourne,” Mr Pallas said.
"The first ten stations will be set up along a key cycling corridor in Melbourne from the Arts Centre Precinct and Federation Square on St Kilda Road, through to Melbourne University in Parkville.
“Locations for the early set-up of the system include popular sites such as Federation Square, City Square, Bourke Street Mall, RMIT University and Melbourne University."
Mr Pallas said the Government understood how important cycling is as a "viable, sustainable and accessible travel option".
Under the new scheme people in Melbourne will be able to use the system for $50 for a yearly subscription, with the daily subscription costing $2.50.
Regular users of the system will be encouraged to use their own helmets and the operators are exploring a range of options for making helmets available to users, including for sale and/or hire from a range of locations within the CBD to ensure convenience.
The first ten Melbourne Bike Share station locations will be at: the Melbourne Arts Centre Precinct; Federation Square; corner Flinders Street and Swanston Street (outside McDonalds); the City Square, Swanston Street; Bourke Street Mall, Swanston Street; the State Library of Victoria; RMIT University, Franklin Street; Lincoln Square, Swanston Street; Melbourne University, Swanston Street and Melbourne University, Tin Alley.
To subscribe for regular updates or for more information on how the new public bike scheme works visit www.melbournebikeshare.com.au
The new bikes are featured in the next issue of Ride On magazine, available 1 April.
BIXI bikes boldly breeding
17 February 2010. The public bike scheme chosen by Melbourneâ€”BIXIâ€”continues to expand following its choice by Minnesota in the US.
The Montreal-designed BIXI system has also been chosen by Boston and London. The Melbourne version will hit the streets in mid-year.
The first phase of the Minnesota operation, to be known as Nice Bike, will have a 1,000 bikes at 80 kiosks and will be launched in June.
The bikes will be located in the CBD, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus and surrounding commercial districts.
The system will operate on a non-profit basis, with income supplemented by sponsorship and by funds obtained from the historic settlement with tobacco companies.
The livery of the Melbourne bikes has not yet been revealed.
Melbourne public bikes seeks boss
14 January 2010. The operators of Melbourne's forthcoming public bike scheme are seeking a planning and management whiz to head up the new venture.
Alta Bike Share, which is RACV's partner in the scheme, has advertised for a manager of the day-to-day operations of the scheme. The position will also double up as Alta's launching pad for the expansion of its town planning business into Australia and Asia.
The company is based in the USA, where it is a leader in bike and pedestrian planning. Now, with a foothold in Australia via the Melbourne public bike scheme, it is establishing a Melbourne office to both run the bike share operation and expand its consulting business.
This is the advertisement for the position:
Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning, Design, Operations Manager
Alta Bicycle Share is seeking to hire a full time professional for a new Melbourne office.
- Day-to-day management of a large-scale bicycle rental operations;
- Planning and design consultancy services for bicycle, pedestrian, and trail projects in Australia, Asia, and Oceania.
The successful candidate should meet this criterion:
Have at least 3 years of consultancy and/or organization management experience
Be able to oversee staff, bicycle rental operations, perform administrative functions, be willing to perform some services in-field, be in good physical condition
Have strong verbal, writing and analytical skills.
Have a working knowledgeable of computers and basic software
Have some knowledge of and/or experience in the following fields: transportation, bicycle, pedestrian, and trail design, transportation operations
Advanced degree in planning, engineering, landscape architecture, or related fields is preferred.
Please send resumes and other materials to:
Michael Jones (mgjones[at]altaplanning.com)
RACV tenders for helmets for public bikes
13 January 2010. RACV wants more than 1000 helmets for the launch of the Melbourne public bike scheme in the middle of next year, which will be one of the first such schemes with compulsory helmets.
The tender documentation also reveals that the project is examining the use of innovative folding helmets, and vending machines.
The helmets must comply with the Australian standard.
Most of the public bike schemes around the world have thrived in environments where helmet wearing is not compulsory.
One of the major challenges of the Melbourne and Brisbane projects is that it will be the first time public bikes will operate where helmets must be fitted.
Melbourne (and the state of Victoria) was the first jurisdiction in the world where helmets became compulsory, and their use has since become widespread and accepted.
Melbourne bike system takes next step
15 December 2009. RACV is seeking partners to plan, operate and maintain the public bike system coming to Melbourne next year.
The organisation, in conjunction with Alta Bicycle Share, last month won the State Government bid to run the 600 bikes at 50 stations in the city of Melbourne.
Now its moving to set up the systems and facilities needed to keep 600 bikes on the street each day, and available to the public where demand is greatest.
RACV / Alta is seeking a partner to assist with planning elements of the deployment of the bike stations, working with RACV to identify possible sites and develop and submit planning permits.
The group is also seeking a partner to assist with the installation of docking stations, and the 'rebalancing' of the stock of bikes from one station to another.
Finally, RACV / Alta are seeking a partner with expertise in bicycle maintenance to assemble and service the Bixi bikes used by the scheme.
The subcontractor will be trained on the specifics of the Bixi bicycle. All tools and equipment needed are specific for this bicycle and will be provided by RACV / Alta. The bicycles will arrive 85% assembled. Final assembly of one bicycle takes 30-60 minutes.
The bicycle subcontractor will undertake a cycle of scheduled servicing on the bicycles at its workshop, including inspection of chain, tyres and gears as well as adjustments to wheels and brakes.
The subcontractor will repair bicycles as they are brought in by the operations subcontractor. Except for severely damaged bicycles, all other bicycles should be repaired within 24 hours of entry into the shop.
The subcontractor will regularly check bikes out on the street for basic safe operation, such as tyres, brakes, chain, seat, pedals, as well as any vandalism or other flaws in the bicycle.
Those with the capability of providing the planning, maintenance or operations for the public bike scheme should contact RACV.
RACV wins Melbourne’s public bike contract
1 November 2009. Giant car club RACV has been awarded the contract to design and operate Melbourne’s public bike system, which will be on the streets around mid-2010.
RACV won the bid in conjunction with Alta Bicycle Share from the United States and will utilize the Bixi bike share system from Montreal.
This system has recently won tenders for London and Boston.
RACV has more than two million members and its transforming itself from a car organization into a mobility organization. “One hundred years ago we were advocating for the rights of cars; now we are advocating for the rights of bike riders,” RACV’s General Manager for Membership and Motoring Services, Gordon Oakley, said at the announcement.
The losing bidder was Veolia Transport, which operates a number of shared bike systems around the world.
Under the scheme people in Melbourne will be able to use the system for as little as $50 for a yearly subscription, with the daily subscription to cost $2.50.
Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas said users would be required to buy a subscription in order to use the public bikes, with the option of a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly subscription.
“For subscribers the first half hour will be free, with the cost then increasing with usage time,” Mr. Pallas said. “The pricing structure has been developed to encourage short trip use as the system is not intended to compete with existing tourist bike hire operators.”
Bicycle Network Victoria assisted both bidders with information and advice on Melbourne’s riding habits.
Both contenders had detailed and professional proposals. Veolia’s system has been longer in development and has progressed through a number of iterations to be both sophisticated and dependable. The RACV/Alta system is very recent, also sophisticated, and has experienced rapid success in Montreal.
The Victorian Government, which awarded the contract, would have been very aware of the enormous goodwill towards RACV in the community, and of RACV’s massive marketing reach.
Some uncertainty exists about the Melbourne scheme as helmets are compulsory here, whereas they are not in Montreal and other cities with public bikes. Mr. Pallas said he expected regular users of the system would use their own helmets, while RACV and Alta were exploring options for sale and hire.
Bicycle Network Victoria believes that public bikes will make a major difference to Melbourne’s ambience and liveability.
Central Melbourne will be easy to get around, and it will be a more welcoming and human-scale environment with 600 public bikes cruising around each day.
More and more people are choosing bikes to get around, and this will now accelerate with the convenience of readily available public bikes.
The bikes will be conspicuous and will be a highly visible symbol of the changes taking place in personal transportation. The community will realize
that bikes are here and here to stay.
Every extra rider puts a strain on Melbourne’s crowded bike facilities. Fortunately the State Government and the City Council have indicated that they are determined to improve bike infrastructure so that new riders will feel comfortable riding around the City.
RACV vs. Veolia in Melbourne shortlist
23 August 2009. Car club behemoth RACV is a shock player in the battle to win Melbourne's public bike scheme tender.
In the short list announced today by Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas, RACV has teamed up with international town planning firm Alta Planning & Design to bring Montreal's Bixi system to Melbourne.
They are lined up against a bid by Veolia Transport, one of the world biggest public transport companies, operating trains, ferries, buses and trams, as well as public bike schemes.
The Bixi system was introduced in Montreal in May. It has recently won contracts in London and Boston. The system has base stations which are easily portable and can be removed for storage in winter in cities where snow is a problem.
Veolia's Veloway system is also flexible in configuration, with modular docking stations. It is designed for integration with public transport systems. Most recently it was introduced to the French city of Nice.
The Melbourne tender involves a $5 million contract over four years.
Mr. Pallas said RACV and Veolia had produced quality submissions and the government confident of selecting a successful operator within three months.
He said the stations would house up to 600 bikes between them, offering workers, and tourists with a cheap and green way to travel around the city.
“The system aims to encourage more people to ride a bike for short trips helping to relieve pressure on transport systems in the inner-city, as well as offering health and wellbeing benefits,” he said.
Member for Melbourne Bronwyn Pike MP said some 50 bicycle stations will be set up at key locations around inner Melbourne including Parliament House, Federation Square, Southern Cross Station, Melbourne University and the Carlton hospital precinct.”
Operational details of the bike scheme, including pricing and helmet requirements and availability, will be announced once the tender had been awarded.
The Public Bike Hire Scheme is a key part of the Brumby Labor Government’s $115 million Victorian Cycling Strategy. It is expected to be operational in 2010.
No Velib for Melbourne
6 August 2009. International public bikes giant JC Decaux have publicly admitted snubbing Melbourne's public bike tender and refusing to bid.
Decaux, whose massive Velib scheme in Paris is considered the flag bearer for public bikes, depends on advertising signage revenue to fund its systems.
The Melbourne tender severely restricts opportunities for on-street advertising, making the Decaux model uneconomic for the city.
The company had previously attempted to launch a public bike scheme in Melbourne, in a joint venture with the Connex operators Veolia, but the bid failed.
Decaux successfully bid for the Brisbane Public bike scheme in January, but the project has made little obvious progress since. The Brisbane scheme involves 2000 bikes and the contract is for a remarkable 20 years.
Veolia and other companies believed to be still in the Melbourne bid have systems with a transportation rather than advertising focus, and can operating economically without large advertising revenues.
Decaux has criticized the Melbourne bid process for its small size (600 bikes), limited scope (Melbourne municipality only) and lack of advertising revenue prospects.
JCDecaux’s CEO, Mr. Stephen O’Connor stated, “It is unfortunate, as we believe that Melbourne is a great City and offers excellent conditions to operate a public bicycle system. We have worked very hard over the last few years promoting JCDecaux’s business model that in our experience, is integral to establishing and maintaining a successful public bicycle system.”
From information made available to Bicycle Network Victoria, remaining bidders for the Melbourne scheme have systems equal to or better than the JC Decaux model.
It is true that 600 bikes is a small number for a scheme the size of Melbourne. It would not surprise if that number is increase before or soon after the scheme is launched next year.
Public bike bidders flock to Melbourne
4 June 2009. Melbourne's public bike tender has aroused interest from around the world as major international operators jockey for prime position to win the bid.
Since the tender was launched a month ago various companies, consultants and agents have been in Melbourne, sharpening their pencils and sizing up the Melbourne offer.
They have been attracted by the $5M subsidy available over fours years to the winning bidder.Tender closes on June 18. The Government expects there could be six to 12 months of negotiations before the winning bidder is contracted.A number of the contenders have contacted Bicycle Network Victoria seeking information about the city's bike facilities and bike culture. They are convinced Melburnians will love using public bikes.At a briefing for bidders last week Department of Transport officials said the priority for the Melbourne project was integration with public transport.The government regarded public bikes as another facet of the public transport portfolio, joining trains, trams, buses and taxis.The first four year contract would be a base system, confined mostly within the City of Melbourne boundaries. If the base system proved successful, it would be expanded further across metropolitan Melbourne.It was envisaged that the bike parking stations would be 300-500 metres apart, with emphasis on major attractions and transport nodes. Placement of the parking stations on footpaths was not acceptable.Riders would have to be over 18, or over 15 with parental approval.Riders could join by subscription, or be charged for specific time periods. Time periods would be short and long term hire to the likes of tourists would not be possible.The government said it was seeking a single contractor to install, operate and maintain the system, although some lower level services could be sub-contracted.The selected operator would have to have successfully operated a similar scheme. A successful funding model, with or without subsidy, would be a critical factor in the selection process, the DOT officials said.
Brumby splashes cash for public bikes
5 May 2009. Premier John Brumby has committed a $5m subsidyâ€”equivalent to more than $8000 per bikeâ€”to a public bike scheme for Melbourne.
Tenders were to be called this week for the project, which specifies 600 bikes at 50 stations around central Melbourne.Sites are believed to include Federation Square, Melbourne University and Southern Cross Station.Roads Minister Tim Pallas was reported as saying that the government was seeking an organisation that has successfully implemented a scheme elsewhere in a comparable environment.Public bike schemes have operated with mixed success so far. They are being rolled out in a number of cities around the world. The successful implementations appear to be in cities which have high population densities.By offering such a substantial subsidy for the scheme the government is signalling high expectations for the project.A successful uptake of the scheme by the Melbourne public would highlight the serious inadequacies of current route infrastructure. This could increase pressure on the government and city authorities to accelerate their investment in new and better facilities.The City of Melbourne is backing the concept, although it is not proposing any direct funding.
Melbourne City to back Brumby's public bikes
26 February 2009. The City Of Melbourne is expected to next week endorse the Brumby government's plan for a $5M public bike hire scheme in central Melbourne.
The Council and the Department of Transport (DOT) are preparing a Memorandum of Understanding which will see the Brumby initiative, part of his soon to be announced Victorian Transport Plan, establish bike vending stations at key locations on Melbourne's streets.
Staff from both organisations have been meeting over the last 12 months to assess the feasibility of the concept. No details of this investigation have been released to date.
The Council expects that the system will be implemented via a contract between DOT and a service provider selected by tender.
Public bike schemes have blossomed overseas recently, with mixed success. The City believes such a scheme could be effective in Melbourne for trips up to 10km.
According to Melbourne City the schemes comprise automated parking stations in public places operated via the internet or credit card. Users pay a refundable bond, a time charge, and can return the bike to any vending station.
The City wants the vending stations close to high public transport, safe bicycle routes and tourist accommodation.
Although the systems are part funded by advertising, the City wants to restrict advertising to the bikes so as to limit impact on the streetscape.
The City also says it will be consulted regarding the provision of helmets. Helmet provision for public bikes could prove a significant problem in Melbourne where helmets are compulsory.