Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Who Knows If Fort Worth's Bike Share Program Has Failed Like Seattle's?

What you are looking at is a row of bikes parked somewhere on the Seattle waterfront.

I did not know, til yesterday, via an article in the Seattle Times titled Bike share’s failure deflates Seattle’s self-image that Seattle had a bike share operation, like the one that operates in Fort Worth.

That would make this blogging sort of a variant of our popular series of bloggings about something I read via a west coast news source which I would not expect to be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Apparently Seattle's bike share program has been rolling for only one year. When the plan was announced there was a lot of opposition. But, despite the objections, the city went ahead with the bike sharing.

I remember back when Fort Worth started its bike sharing program someone asked me if such a thing existed in Seattle. I remember saying I don't think such a thing would work there, due to it being very hilly and downtown is so busy with traffic and pedestrians, riding a bike would be hazardous. And that people in Seattle, who are into biking, already would have a bike. And that tourists staying downtown would not want to try and explore on a bike, as it would be too hazardous.

So, the various Seattle bike share kiosks were generating only about $30 a day, which apparently has not been enough revenue to make the operation solvent.

The Seattle Times article I read about the Seattle bike share failure was so different than an article one reads in the Star-Telegram, in that the Seattle Times article is very detailed, very critical, sort of self-deprecating and pretty much comprehensive about the issue.

The first five sentences in this Seattle Times bike sharing article as an example of what I mean by critical and self-deprecating...

Who would have thought Seattle’s bike share program would struggle? Probably anyone who’s tried to cycle through downtown. The news that Seattle’s bike share program is insolvent only a year after opening is, symbolically anyway, a wound to Seattle’s green psyche. It could be due to mismanagement. Or a lame rollout. These were some of the reasons offered for how a bicycling program could falter so badly in a place that fancies itself as Bike City, USA.

And the article, since being published yesterday, has generated, when last I looked, 360 some comments.

More than 360 comments!

Intelligent, well-reasoned comments, the likes of which one rarely reads in the Star-Telegram. Recently the Star-Telegram published a breathless article about a million dollar tacky piece of supposed art being celebrated by America's Biggest Boondoggle. One would have thought such a subject would have caused oodles of locals to opine. Instead, mostly crickets chirping.

Click the Bike share’s failure deflates Seattle’s self-image link and read the article and some of the comments and you'll see what I mean about the total tonal difference between the Seattle Times and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

What explains such a stark difference? A better educated population? A more progressive, democratic population? A population used to opining on public issues? Used to having their voices heard?

Being totally blunt, which really is not my style, but why is the Fort Worth Star-Telegram so dumbed down?

How is the Fort Worth bike share program faring? Has it been a success? You don't really see all that many people rolling around town on those rental bikes. Has the Star-Telegram had an article about how the Fort Worth bike sharing program is doing after it being in operation for a year or two?

1 comment:

Steve A said...

No bike share program has ever succeeded where mandatory helmet laws exist. Fort Worth, to its credit, has not not enacted any such nanny law as Seattle did. At least Mexico City repealed it's stupid law when it started its bike share program. I guess I'm not a fan of blatantly discrimination, even when done in the name of "safety."