It’s no surprise to us that as vehicle sharing increases in popularity, bicycle sharing likely would follow.
Consumers Digest first reported on bike-sharing programs at colleges and universities in our January/February 2011 issue (“Bike sharing rolls onto campuses”). Now it’s moving into cities.
Social Bicycles at press time was scheduled to launch in Buffalo, N.Y., and two west coast cities in summer 2012, and it will target more cities for later in 2012.
Through Social Bicycles, consumers essentially rent bikes that are left at various checkpoints throughout a city. You pay for a subscription, use your smartphone to locate the nearest bike and unlock it via a dedicated mobile application. A data panel that’s built onto the bike’s frame tracks you wherever you take the bike. When you’re finished, you use your app to find the nearest drop-off point and lock up the bike for others to use.
As of press time, Social Bicycles hadn’t determined pricing, but it suggested that it likely would have a monthly subscription fee instead of a per-use fee.