Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brompton Dock: folding bike share system

Most people in this area are familiar with the bike sharing system Capital Bikeshare. Three-speed bikes can be used for short trips in DC and Arlington. For members, the first 30 minutes of the trip are free, so most people time their trips to be less than that. Trips longer than 30 minutes are expensive.

The British manufacturer Brompton is experimenting with a new bikeshare concept, Brompton Dock, which takes advantage of the portability of their excellent folding bikes:
Brompton Dock is an extension of familiar ‘park and ride’ programs. Commuters arrive at Guidlford train station where 40 Bromptons are stored in a bank of lockers on the platform. When the membership smartcard is swiped, a screen indicates which bay is unlocked, and the commuter can take the folded bike to use straight away, or carry on the train to within cycling distance of their destination. Members can keep the bike for as long as they like, and return it to the dock when they’re finished.

The program is designed to be “simple, convenient and excellent value for money”. Membership costs GBP 50 ($81) a year, and includes annual 24/7 access to Brompton Dock. Bike hire is GBP 4 ($6.50) per day for a single day, GBP 2 ($3.25) per day for more than a weeks hire, and GBP 1.60 ($2.60) per day for one months hire. The smartcard keeps track of bike usage and members are charged at the end of each month. Though currently only available in Guildford, Brompton are working with South West trains and other organizations to bring the program to other locations.
Those prices seem very reasonable. Wonder if such a system would work here in Fairfax. I can see commuters coming from DC and Arlington picking up a Brompton upon entering Metro, arriving at one of the Tysons or Reston Metro stations, and riding that last mile or two to work. They could do the same using a bus. It certainly helps overcome the last mile problem.

Thanks to John of All Ability Cycles for the link.

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