NYC Bike Share figures don’t add up
(EDIT – I’m happy NYC is getting a massive bike share in place, but find the figures curious.)
$50 million. That’s what Alta Planning says that the New York City bike share system – unveiled this week – will cost to run each year.
That figure seemed really high to me, so I hit page-up, and saw that the system will have 10,000 bikes. Do the division:
$50,000,000 per year / 10,000 bikes = $5,000 per bike per year
Five grand per bike per year? I just don’t see how that can make financial sense. How can a system cost that much per bike per year. Even if there’s substantial administrative overhead, that implies you’d be spending thousands of dollars per bike per year administrating the system.
And keep in mind, the press releases seem to suggest this $50 million figure does not include the initial investment. So it’s not as if this is the start up cost.
Perhaps figures like this are the reason that NYC will not spend any public money (apart from the allocation of public space) for the bike share system. In way, that’s a sad sign of the times. Why can’t a city make the relatively small investment in a bike share system? They do it for every other transportation system – government spends enormous capital on roads, airports, subways . . . but we can’t afford a bike share system? Government makes those investments despite recession, in spite of falling revenues.
Here in LA former Mayor Richard Riordan and allies have long been investigating a bike share system for LA. Word on the street is that private operators won’t do it because the estimated liability costs are too high. They think LA is that dangerous to ride.
Maybe that’s why it’s costing NYC $5,000 per bike per year – insurance. If the insurance policy is just 1/3 of the $50 million yearly – $17 million – what does that imply the operator expects in terms of injuries and fatalities? It’s a stark reminder of how far we have to realize bike friendliness.
If someone has firm figures or insight, I’d love to hear it.