Why is Melbourne’s bike sharing scheme underperforming?

After one year of operation, the Melbourne bike
sharing scheme is running into trouble, with apparent underutilisation and
rider numbers falling short of projections.

A number of issues have been identified as possible
reasons for the lack of enthusiasm – including awkward pick-up points, a wet
summer, compulsory helmet laws (with riders being forced to bring a helmet of
buy one before hiring a bike), and limited number of bike stations.

Earlier this month, the City of Melbourne announced
that it is planning to provide on-street bicycle parking in ‘high-demand
locations’, and their latest transport strategy claims that better bicycle
parking will help to increase rider numbers.

According to the SMH, cyclists can hire about 600 bikes
from 50 docking stations across the city and inner suburbs, with riders
required to pay a $50 annual subscription, and then a weekly or a daily fee to
hire the bicycles.

The scheme is currently seeing around 13,000 trips a
month (up from around 8,500 in December) – but requires around 15,000 trips a
month to break even. The scheme was projected to support around 25,000 trips
per month in the second year of operation.

Below you can watch a video from Fairfax on the
Melbourne bike sharing scheme.

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