[*BCM*] boston's bike sharing program (BIXI)

Jym Dyer jym at econet.org
Fri Aug 14 23:49:24 EDT 2009

> It is good for tourist use, but I think it also could be
> good for short pre/post subway trips.

=v= The name "BIXI" is a combination of bicycle + taxi, and
they're trying to market it as an alternative to the kind
of trip you might otherwise take in a taxi.

=v= In addition to Montreal, bike-sharing schemes have been
a success in many European locations, presumably replacing
many motorized vehicle trips.  The first such system in this
country is Washington D.C.'s "SmartBike" (which is run by
Clear Channel), but I think it's too soon to tell how well
it's working there yet.

> The thing that worries me the most about this not working,
> is just the brutal, fuck-everyone vandalism impulse.  People
> can be dicks.

=v= J.C. Decaux, who operates the Paris bike-share, reported
a very high rate of vandalism and theft, but it turned out
that they were overstating things because they wanted the city
to pay them more money than agreed upon.  There are also some
people in Barcelona who believe the city government is taking
away free bike parking and other amenities for bicyclists to
make room for their bike share, so they've done some vandalism
in the form of protest graffiti.

=v= My main issue with BIXI is with one of their sponsors.  The
aluminum for the bikes' frames comes from the mining company Rio
Tinto, whose company logo is emblazoned right on the handlebars
so you can stare at it the entire time you're riding the bike.
Frame material product placement is very unusual, but I suppose
Rio Tinto needs some heavy-duty greenwash.  They do everything
from stripmining to rainforest destruction to pushing for
increased proliferation of nuclear power.  Greenpeace has had
to put pressure on them for years.

    I guess they'd rather be associated with biking, at least
in the public mind.

=v= For once I'd like a bike-sharing program that isn't
sponsored by a destructive company.  J.C. Decaux is notorious
for their intrusions on liveable space.  Clear Channel promotes
oil wars and has morning drive-time DJs who like to joke about
hurting and killing bicyclists.

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