|Ride Salem in July 2019|
at the downtown Transit Mall, NE corner
It has not seemed important to chase down the details, as between the Pandemic and national-level changes to the bike rental industry, there are big structural reasons for any change, and it was not primarily any local problem (even if the lack of local support might be a secondary reason and have accelerated any change or made a total shut-down more likely).
|Cherriots Trip Choice report on Ride Salem|
The city of Eugene will take over operations of PeaceHealth Rides later this month, avoiding any interruption in service. This is an interim measure as the city searches for an organization to run the popular bike-share program.Zagster, who operated the Ride Salem bikes and rental app, left the business at about the same time as Social Bicycles exited.
“We know how much our community values our bike-share system,” Matt Rodrigues, city of Eugene acting Public Works director, said in a news release. “The city has worked swiftly with our partners to take action and ensure the future of PeaceHealth Rides.”
The city made the announcement just weeks after the previous operator, Social Bicycles, an Uber subsidiary, announced it was leaving the bike-share business and ending service as of June 1. That date was later extended to June 30.
|Cherriots working to relaunch the bike rentals|
So we'll see how it shakes out.
There is plenty of room for improvement, and small incremental improvements are very possible.
Larger changes to make it more relevant in the total transportation mix are more elusive. As we have seen, until the City decides to make downtown streets more hospitable to casual and infrequent cyclists, a rental system will be mainly ornamental, an amusement on the park path system, and not very useful as transportation for errands, business, or commuting. It will also be important to have more stations and a wider coverage area.
On the bigger problems, most recently see:
- "Framing on Ride Salem's Slow Start Misses Important Pieces" (December 2019)
- "Ride Salem Numbers from Summer Seem Small" (November 2019)
- "Public Bike System to Launch; City Mainly sees Tourism Toy" (June 2019)
- And elsewhere, see this piece on a company that purchased some of the parts of Zagster, and a little more on the industry contraction with the Pandemic, "Superpedestrian is launching a shared e-scooter service called Link."