Is Copenhagen's new GoBike bike share system too complicated and expensive?

© Gobike

It is surprising that for a city with so much bike infrastructure, Copenhagen doesn't have a bike share system. It used to, (Warren wrote about it here) but it was closed last year.

Now, GoBike is proposing to bring it back, and it's a different kind of system that they call a "brand new means of transport!"

Most cities have buses, trains and metros. Many cities even offer city bikes. However, common to most cities is that these means of transport lack interconnection. Users are faced with a major planning task when they want to go from A to B– so means of transport are generally not used as a whole, but as individual offers.... GoBike is an integrated transport solution – "the missing link" in public transportation. By integrating public transport – and focusing it around the flexible city bike – GoBike's solutions will offer the first real alternative to car transport in the cities.

Their idea is that bikeshare stations would be located near residential districts to deal with the last mile from home to train station, and at the other end from train station to office. "GoBike will ensure coherent transport all the way."

The bikes are pretty nice too:

Bikes from GoBikes are designed as an aluminium unisex model and come with a cardan shaft drive. Cables, light, etc. are built into the frame to prevent vandalism. The saddle is adjusted via gas pressure – and when the saddle is adjusted, the angle to the handlebars automatically adjusts to ensure optimum ergonomical sitting posture. Tyres are puncture-proof – guaranteed for 15,000 km. The bike has front and rear loading platforms.

They also have a built-in tablet PC for navigation, train schedules, local activities, information about bike and docking availability. "GoBikes intuitive systems help the user all the way – thus ensuring that the user reaches his/her destination in the most pleasant and efficient way."

Indeed they are nice, but they are expensive at 48,000 kroner (US$ 8,482) to buy and maintain, and a lot of people think this is crazy. Mikael Colville-Andersen tells the Copenhagen Post, the weekly english language paper:

There are already fantastic bicycle-sharing systems in the Netherlands that are cost-efficient. They could have copy and pasted a system that has already been proven to work. This is the grossest over-complication of a simple system I have ever seen.... It is overly-expensive and doomed to failure when there were easier solutions at hand.

He notes also that the electric version is too fast and that the tablet computer is a dangerous distraction. He is probably right; I almost crashed last week looking at a GPS display. Another problem is the size of the whole program; they are talking about 1275 bikes, which barely makes a dent.

lloyd on bikeMikael Colville-Andersen/CC BY 2.0

I had a perfectly good cycling experience on an inexpensive three-speed supplied by the Christian IV hotel, and the GPS in my iPhone worked wonderfully. I think Mikael is probably right.

More at Copenhagen Post

Is Copenhagen's new GoBike bike share system too complicated and expensive?
At US$ 8,500 per bike it sure looks like it might be a bit much.

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