In an attempt to make us more like Amsterdam and Europe and provide a green, healthy personal mobility alternative, a new affordable digital bike sharing system called Social Bikes will be launching in New York this fall. Social bike set-up costs are a fraction of those using traditional infrastructure-based systems, like the ones in Velib in Paris or Biking in Barcelona ($3,000 to $4,000) and cost less than $1,000.
Social Bikes will work like this: If you need a bike for a day register online and you'll find the closest designated rack on an iPhone app and select one from the GPS-enabled map. The locking system on the bike lets you lock it up on any rack, not only the designated ones. You'll transfer funds over the internet through your phone and you're off. If you don't have a smart enough phone, you can just punch an unlock code into the unit or unlock it via SMS.
If your bike happens to be broken, hit the "repair" button and the bike will be flagged for pick-up. What will you do if you need to pop in a store and don't want some to ride away with it? You'll just press the "hold" button and you'll have ten minutes after locking the bike before it goes operable again.
Hopefully this test will not be sabotaged by the well... theft and crime in New York. Maybe they should have picked a less crime-ridden city like Boise.
August 12, 2010 11:21 AM | Biking