Coast Bike Share began as a demo program of 100 bicycles at 10 stations across downtown St. Petersburg in November 2016. The program released 300 bicycles at more than 30 stations the following February for its full launch , ranging out from downtown St. Petersburg to the Edge District, Grand Central and the Warehouse Arts District.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) is in the midst of seeking proposals from qualified firms interested in establishing and operating a local Bike Share System utilizing space at existing Skyway stations throughout Downtown. As a part of the Request for Proposal P-19-002, key Bike Share Program components desired by the JTA include:

A. Business Model – The proposal should address the overall business model of the proposed bike share system for a period of five years. The business model should be scalable with predictable costs and a guaranteed level of service. The business model should demonstrate how the proposer can meet the immediate provision of facilities at the Skyway stations and how future suburban mobility hub facilities could be provided. The business model should provide for a system in which the operating costs do not exceed its funding source. It is the intention of the JTA to not provide any funding other than the property upon which to locate bike sharing facilities.

B. Funding Method – The proposal should address the mechanisms for funding the bike share system, such as user fees, sponsorships, partnerships, the use of redistribution credits to reduce overall system management costs, other cost saving mechanisms, etc. These funding mechanisms should address infrastructure costs, operational costs, management costs, and maintenance costs.

C. Costs – The proposal should include a sound financial plan that clearly outlines the capital, operation, and maintenance costs over a five-year period; plus the proposed mechanisms that will fully fund these costs over the five-year period. The expectation is that the full system should be at no cost for the JTA.

D. System Architecture – The proposal should address the system architecture, including the interface options for renting a bike, bike share membership options, customer service and issue reporting, bike tracking, and other key elements of operating and maintaining a functional bike share system.

E. Infrastructure – The proposal should address the key infrastructure and hardware for the system, including specifications on bike station design and requirements, bike components and features, and theft prevention. Additionally, this proposal should outline the boundary of the service area, including the potential for future service area phasing. The system should include a fully automated locking system that allows users to check bicycles easily in or out.

F. Equipment Overview – Equipment must be designed to withstand the demands of outdoor, share use. Equipment must be attractive and highly durable; theft and vandal resistant; able to withstand weather conditions; safe, comfortable and easy to use by a wide range of users and include an adjustable seat. A unique bicycle identification number must appear on each bicycle. A 24-hour customer service number must appear on each bicycle. Bikes must come with a self-locking mechanism, remain upright when parked, and capable of being parked in a standard bicycle rack.

G. System Maintenance – The proposal should address the mechanism for managing and maintaining a functional bike share system. This should include bike repair, station repair, reallocation/redistribution of bikes, etc. The contract recipient (hereinafter referred to as “the System Operator”) must be able to ensure that all bikes in its fleet available to the public are in good working order and safe to operate. The System Operator must provide a plan for operations in the case of weather-related emergencies that prioritizes the safety of users.

H. Data and Analytics – The proposal should include GPS tracking with available data to determine where bikes are going, frequency of use; a wireless tracking system that locates where a bicycle is picked up and returned and identifies the user; real-time monitoring of station occupancy rates through wireless communications; real-time user information through various platforms including the web, mobile phones and/or on-site terminals; the ability to provide and use data to determine how and where the system should expand.

I. User Benefits – The proposal should address any ancillary benefits available to bike share system users, such as membership interoperability with bike share in other communities, flexible pricing structures and options, or special discounts available to bike share members. (Please label this in the Response User Benefits).

J. Customer Service – The proposal should include a customer service protocol that provides customer service via multiple mechanisms (i.e. mobile applications, website, phone number), enabling members of the public to ask questions, report bikes that are damaged or improperly parked, request refunds, or otherwise receive support. 24/7/365 customer support must be available in both English and Spanish with a minimal response time. Multiple languages are preferred.

Source: JTA Request for Proposal P-19-002

Who’s Interested?

Four experienced companies have submitted official responses to operate a local bike share system at no expense to JTA. They include P3 Global Management, Clevr Mobility, Lime and Gotcha Bike.

Traditional and dockless bike share programs compete for users in Downtown San Diego

New York-based P3 Global Management promotes itself as a global smart city development company that is known for creating public-private partnerships and facilitates collaboration between municipalities and the private sector to launch innovative urban infrastructure projects. P3 Global’s list of bike share programs include Jersey Bike, Hudson Bike Share, Skybike, Bike New Haven, New Rochelle Bike Share, Point Pleasant Beach Bike Share, Newport Bikeshare Solutions, and Woodbridge Bike Share.

Los Angeles-based Clevr Mobility is a battery maker that designs e-bikes and e-scooters to operate off batteries that can be swapped out, giving scooter-rental services an alternative to a workforce of contractors that collects and charges scooters nightly. CLEVER has positioned itself as a turnkey intelligent Light Electric Vehicle (LEV) mobility platform built for operationally efficient fleet deployment, real-time control and management, while exceeding the highest safety and regulatory standards. The company acknowledges that Dockless LEVs are a preferred choice for operators and users but cities aren’t happy with current methods of deployment of these innovative first/last mile solutions.

San Francisco-based Lime was established on the simple idea that all communities deserve access to smart, affordable mobility. Through the equitable distribution of shared scooters, bikes and transit vehicles, Lime aims to reduce dependence on personal automobiles for short distance transportation and leave future generations with a cleaner, healthier planet. Calling itself the first and only shared smart mobility solution provider with a multimodal fleet, Lime’s bike share programs can be found in over 120 markets and major global cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego, Berlin, and Paris.

The final operator, Charleston-based Gotcha Bike promotes itself as the only fully customizable, turnkey bike share system around. Gotcha’s mission is to improve the daily lives of people in the spaces and events most important to them. Through sustainable mobility solutions that get people where they need to go, to college marketing activations that feel organic and relevant, Gotcha connects with people through one-of-a-kind mobility and media solutions. The company recently was selected from three bidders to create and operate a bike share program for the city of Toledo. Initial plans for Toledo’s system include the installation of 100 specially engineered bicycles at 18 docking stations.

Next Steps

Pittsburgh Bike Share, also known as Healthy Ride, currently serves about a dozen Pittsburgh neighborhoods. With many stations located near bike trails and popular destinations, as of February 2018, Healthy Ride had tallied more than 212,000 rides since the system opened in May 2015.

Now that four firms have officially responded to the JTA’s RFP, each firm will be evaluated on their general qualifications, competence and availability of key staff, technical knowledge, innovation, cost and quality assurance/quality control. Initial evaluations are anticipated to be completed by Friday, November 9 with the anticipation of each firm presenting their proposal to the JTA on November 20th.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Davis is a certified senior planner and graduate of Florida A&M University. He is the author of the award winning books “Reclaiming Jacksonville,” “Cohen Brothers: The Big Store” and “Images of Modern America: Jacksonville.” Davis has served with various organizations committed to improving urban communities, including the American Planning Association and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. A 2013 Next City Vanguard, Davis is the co-founder of Metro Jacksonville.com and ModernCities.com — two websites dedicated to promoting fiscally sustainable communities — and Transform Jax, a tactical urbanist group. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com