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B-Cycle lack of understanding

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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby acereraser » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:46 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Detritus wrote:don't know about anyone else, but UW staff got a deal on rentals--something like $25 to rent for the year.


Huh? That's the first I heard about it. Looked it up and it was actually $20 per year. That's a pretty huge savings. I'm sure that boosted numbers.


Oh, I see, more benefits for the fat cat state employees! Harumph.

Actually, I am kidding on the square. Why don't they make that the price for all locals?
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby Steve Vokers » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:49 pm

Just because they are renting a lot of bikes doesn't mean they are profitable. If they keep adding more stations it also means they are spending more money on infrastructure.
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby green union terrace chair » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:58 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
The system saw its annual memberships explode, from 475 to 2,150


Looking at this in terms of a successful business venture, I'd say they nailed it.

Usage doesn't necessarily mean success. I see Metro buses on campus full all the time, but we know that the Metro system requires a subsidy to operate. Unfortunately we don't have a complete picture of B-cycle's usage and they won't release their revenues and costs, but we can make some estimates based on what they have provided.

Revenues:
Prices taken from http://madison.bcycle.com/pricing.aspx
  • Annual members: 2,150 x $65 = $139,750
  • Daily members**: 11,710 x $5 = $58,550
    ** I took this from the "casual user" number, which I am assuming means daily membership.
  • Usage fees: Unknown. The reports says the vast majority of trips are less than 30 minutes (which incur no usage charge). Hard numbers aren't listed, but we can make an estimate off of the graph on page 12. I'll say 5,000 trips of 31-60 minutes ($10,000), 1,000 trips of 60-90 minutes ($7,000) and 500 trips of 90-120 minutes ($6,000). There are trips that are longer, but can't be reliably estimated from that graph. So my estimate is $23,000, though the actual amount is probably higher.
  • Advertising / sponsorship: Unknown.
  • Replacement (bike, card, key): Unknown.
Total revenues: $221,300 + ads/sponsorships + replacement charges + other usage fees.

Operating expenses:
  • New stations: 5 (though in the same paragraph on page 5 it says they started the season with 27 stations and ended with 33).
  • New bikes: Unknown (began the season with 290 and ended with ... 290. I think someone needed to proofread that page 5. Page 8 says they officially started in April with 200 bikes, so did they add 90?)
  • Staff: Unknown. The report lists five regular staff members (unknown if they are full or part-time) and two interns.
Total expenses: Unknown. Would someone else like to take a stab at an estimate?

The other difference in the Soglin deal was that this was made a 5-year contract instead of 3 years. When this comes up for review in 2016, I hope we get a chance to see all the hard data if Trek wants us to kick in. Otherwise, if they've determined that they have a profitable model, then I think they ought to start paying rent for all of the public space they're using for their 33 stations.
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby green union terrace chair » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:00 pm

After spending all that time on that post, I now see the posts about a deal for UW employees. If that's true, then it lowers the annual membership and usage revenues by some amount that isn't broken out in the official Trek report (unless the UW was simply providing a subsidy to make up the difference).
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:54 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:unless the UW was simply providing a subsidy to make up the difference


That was the case. The UW paid for full price memberships and then the transportation department offered the discount.

And before anyone goes on about tax payer dollars and all that bullshit, the Trans. department if self funded.

I'm just wondering if people hope this fails so it makes the mayor look good for not kicking in or if they just prefer being naysayers. I think it's a great program and I would like to see it grow and succeed. Those numbers make me optimistic but apparently a membership growth almost 5 times greater then the year before is nothing special.
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby jjoyce » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:35 pm

Another thought on this now that I've once again been to the Twin Cities for a few days. Madison needs to get its house in order when it comes to what is expected from a city in terms of parks and recreation. I believe Madison is a town that is interested in parks and public spaces and I don't think the city is recognizing and taking advantage of that.

Back to my Edina example (Centennial Lake): There is a great public space with a fabulous pond for skating in the winter. It's well maintained and has a great warming house with concessions. FURTHER, it's ringed by retail establishments and a few bars and restaurants. It's a destination and a true economic driver.

Meanwhile, our "central park" project remains a big, vacant lot. The city could have done something special there, but it continues to be scaled back. There will be fewer skating rinks maintained this year (anyone been to Tenney or Vilas yet?). The golf operation is being scaled back. There's less parks programming.

These are all opportunities for not just spending money, but bringing money in. There are opportunities for interesting public/private partnerships that could actually work. Another Minneapolis initiative is putting restaurants in park pavilions. Remember when Chris Berge was scoffed at for his idea of a tavern on the bike path? There should be three or four of them. Vilas and Tenney parks should have little seasonal grills as well, a la the Shake Shack in New York's Madison Square Park. And BCycle should be written into every convention/conference proposal. I know it's already included in quite a few, but why not include a pass in the price of a conference/convention to allow attendees easy access?
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby jman111 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:59 pm

jjoyce wrote:anyone been to Tenney or Vilas yet?

Quite a few people were skating at Tenney last night.
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:01 pm

jman111 wrote:
jjoyce wrote:anyone been to Tenney or Vilas yet?

Quite a few people were skating at Tenney last night.


Do they have a concession stand in the new building?
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby jman111 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Don't know, I was just driving by last night.
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby Ducatista » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:16 pm

When I drove past Tenney Thursday morning there were several guys tidying up the edges of the rink with snowblowers. That was some cozy shit.
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Re: B-Cycle lack of understanding

Postby Human » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:56 pm

I'd be really surprised if B-Cycle turns a profit. It's basically a public transportation system, and transportation systems usually need to be subsidized one way or another -- fares and user fees almost never cover the cost of operations.

Trek does intend to make a profit by selling B-Cycle systems to other cities, but Trek doesn't operate those systems, and the operators have to figure out their own ways of financing the system. Madison is a special case -- we're nearby, and Trek wants experience running a system of their own, so they were willing to give us a good deal.

If Madison B-Cycle actually turns a profit, I'll be happy for them, but I'll be really surprised. And I don't think much money will be involved. There's really not much reason for the city to try to renegotiate the deal to give us a share of the proceeds.
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