Eugene, Oregon, Touts Bike Share Program as 'Innovative Transportation Solution'

This after heavy-handed regulations pushed Uber out of the same market last year.


Bike Share
nickfalbo / Flickr

On Friday, the city of Eugene, Oregon, signed a contract with New York–based Social Bicycles to construct a bike-share system.

Bike sharing has been a goal of the city government since 2013, when it commissioned a study on the feasibility of operating such a system in the city. That report, released in June 2014, emphasized that such systems help to relieve pressure on overburdened mass transit systems and provide users with a cheap and effective means of making short intra-city trips.

Those facts have remained part of the city's talking points over the last two years. The news release it put out after the contract was inked describes Eugene Bike Share as "an innovative transportation solution for short urban trips," while the municipal website notes that it will lower personal transportation costs and help with "first and last mile connections to transit."

What's odd about that (besides the hilarious description of a two-century-old technology as an "innovative transportation solution") is that the city just last year decided to shut down another, arguably more innovative transportation solution: Uber.

The ridesharing company started up its Eugene operations in July 2014, offering the city pretty much all the benefits Bike Share is promising it now: cheap and convenient urban trips, more travel options, and lower personal transit costs, all at zero cost to the taxpayer.

Unfortunately, Uber's model for providing these benefits—what with its gas-powered machines and refusal to comply with taxi regulations—was not nearly as popular with the Eugene city council. In November 2014 it started issuing fines for noncompliance, and when that proved ineffective sued the company to get it to close up shop. On Easter Sunday 2015, Uber ceased operating in the city.

In the year and a half since, Eugene residents and visitors have had no choice but to shell out more for traditional taxis or pack themselves onto the city's supposedly overcrowded public transit options. It is possible that, once established, Bike Share will offer these travelers some relief. But they'll have to wait until roughly next October—Bike Share's estimated completion time—to find out.

Update 10/28/16: A representative from the City of Eugene Planning & Development Department reached out to let us know that in May, the city changed its rules so that companies like Uber can operate if they meet certain requirements, outlined here. Reached for a comment, an Uber representative confirmed the company has not returned to Eugene due to the onerousness of the remaining rules, including the amount and type of insurance drivers are required to have. The headlines on this story have been updated.

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  1. Communism is an innovative solution to income inequality and climate change.

    1. Something something… “pivotal experiment…” mumble mumble…

  2. ” It is possible that, once established, Bike Share will offer these travelers some relief.”
    Not if they are not physically capable of riding a bicycle! Crony capitalism meets ADA violation. Please some public minded law firm take this obvious abuse of public trust to court and get the entire council jailed.

    1. Let alone the first person that hits a pothole and goes head first over the handlebars*. they’re gonna sue the shit out of the city and win.

      *Made worse because the city is promoting what in all likelihood is considered an attractive nuisance without providing safety gear like helmets.

      1. I dunno why any city would stick their neck out like this. NYC’s bike share program, in comparison, is private.

      2. Even if those helmets were provided, try getting people to wear them. Particularly women (concerns about mussed hair).

        One of the most egregious things I see is this guy who tools around town on a bike with a helmet dangling from the handlebars. Almost as egregious as the scooter kids who don’t actually wear helmets so much as set them jauntily on the backs of their heads and don’t attach the straps.

        BTW, Sloop, that’s called an “endo” when you go over the handlebars because your front wheel is stuck.

        FTR, nobody should be forced to wear a helmet, but also there should be no taxpayer liability for injuries incurred by those who don’t.

        1. I’m ok with not forcing anyone to wear a helmet, except that I shouldn’t have to subsidize the cost to put humpty dumpty back together again once helmetless head meets payment. So anyone who doesn’t want to wear a helmet also should not file an insurance claim if they receive a head injury.

        2. I am not using a rental helmet that isn’t thoroughly sanitized between users.

          1. I’m not sure if you could economically construct a helmet that will protect you from a crash and is also capable of being autoclaved. does irradiation work on lice?

    2. Duh – just demand than 20% of bikes be wheelchair accessible.

      1. [golf clap]

        1. My city is doing something like this to ride-sharing. I don’t know how that works – “sorry, Herb, you can’t pick up anyone right now because Bob’s got a minivan”?

      2. At each rack.

      3. Lack of wheelchair accessible vehicles is one thing they are using to hammer Uber, et als.

        1. I haven’t noticed to many accessible taxis either but hey they are an approved Union

    3. Incapable? But, yeah, the inherent ableism of bike share programs never seems to register with progs.

    4. Jailed works. I’d prefer impaled or crucified, but jailed works.

  3. Facepalm.

  4. I would expect no less from Eugene.

  5. Virtue signalling — still a thing, even if there’s no virtue involved.

    1. Exactly. It’s this logic: “cars =bad, deregulated car sharing plans = worse, but bikes sharing = better.”

      1. The same logic that applies to energy and health insurance applies to transportation:

        Things that people want because they are effective, inexpensive, and not unpleasant = bad

        Things that align both with financial interests of cronies and
        the aesthetic tastes and prejudices of the ruling elite = “innovative solutions” sponsored by altruistic public servants

    2. Well, that and this isn’t a disruptive model that taxi unions can feasibly fight. Money is involved. It always is.

  6. like Rodney implied I’m in shock that someone can profit $8508 in a few weeks on the computer
    see more at———–>>> http://tinyurl.com/Usatoday01

  7. If you need a state-enforced monopoly to succeed, maybe your product kinda sucks.

  8. Those facts have remained part of the city’s talking points over the last two years.

    Not facts; assertions.

  9. I know an innovative solution to the Jewish Question.

    1. I think someone might have beaten you to that one…

      1. …but enough about Martin Luther….

    2. *Now* what are (((they))) asking?

      1. The question I heard was “How do we get our neighbors to stop trying to kill us?”

    3. the Jewish Question

      “Why is the food so bad, and the portions so small?”

      “How come you haven’t given us grandchildren yet?”

  10. Eugene, Oregon, Touts Bike Share Program as ‘Innovative Transportation Solution’; Uber Still Banned
    How does that make sense?

    Leftist cunts hate cars because of TEH EVUL CARBONZ!1!1111!!!!! Also, they think it’s somehow their job to hector everyone into exercising more and they’re stupid enough to think that making more bikes available will suddenly cause the fatties to ride them. Of course, when it doesn’t, they’ll just make using the bikes mandatory. Government is the fatsos we force to ride bikes together!

    1. Hammer them about helmets and obeying stop signs. They hate that.

      Also a bit of saber-rattling about licensing and insurance.

    2. And even assuming that the able-bodied 25% (guesstimate) of the population were willing to ride bikes for transportation, what about hot days, cold days, rainy days? These programs clearly benefit an elite few at the expense of the many. Just like everything else progs do, but they never admit that.

      1. Or trying to carry even minimal packages, shopping bags, briefcase, ….

        Then there’s the truck and drivers they’ll need to keep bicycles evenly distributed. Imagine the poor sap who takes a bike a mile to pick up the sammiches and coffee he ordered by phone, and comes out 5 minutes later to find the redistribution crew relocated his ride, or some other needy soul went gallivanting off somewhere. Or maybe he rode off for lunch and is the greedy selfish type who expects to keep it the whole time until he rides back. Or the even worse soul who rides it home at night.

        Yeh, success, buds.

        1. It seems to be working in NY. The conditions are more favorable for that, sure.

      2. In the long term, it’s sop to the homeless who will end up with the bikes eventually.

    3. They should assign sexy physical trainers to each of us (for *~*FREE~*~ OBVS) to fight obesity

    4. Easier: The city owns the bikes and gets the money from Federal and State grants, as well as kickbacks from businesses who want to have a bike rack outside their front door. Uber lets filthy individuals profit from their choice to own and operate a small car with a roomy back-seat and some trunk space.

  11. Are bicycles so expensive and hard to get that we need a government program to make them available? Or are the people of that city so passive and helpless that somebody has to take them by the hand and lead them to a bicycle rack?

    1. Sensible people don’t want to cart a bicycle inside stores when they run errands, or up flights of stairs to offices, and know better than to trust bike locks outside. That’s why most people drive.

      Markets are fascinating pools of info, free for the viewing. When people don’t die bikes voluntarily on their own, preferring expensive cars, there’s a reason.

      1. there’s a reason

        Duh, bikes are a tool of the oligarchs. No single person can afford one.

    2. Do you see those bikes? If they are anything like the other bike-share bikes I’ve seen they weigh about 4x what anyone who isn’t a hipster ironically buying a cruiser would pay for. To keep people from stealing them

      1. LOL they do remind me of my very first bicycle, an old used thing that my Dad got for five bucks. Heavy, not to mention uncool, but sturdy as hell.

  12. A guy I know was just killed riding his bike to work: turned right in front of a car.

    When will they ban cars?

    You know: for the bike share program?

  13. Appropos….a nearby 2-lane, one way street in Bal’mer was just converted into a one lane street, so they could build bike lanes near the curb. The cars that previously parked at the curb, and that capacity was cut in half too, park in the now deceased traffic lane.

    Meanwhile , MLK Blvd still looks and feels like a street in Syria, but never mind that. Traffic is even more fucked than before on that other street, but now we have something for those 14 bicyclists!

    1. It’s only because Kulaks like you refuse to ride them.

      1. Look, I’ll ride them downhill, m’kay?

        BTW, this street is on a pretty serious uphill grade. Of course, we should expect this kind of Top Men thinking from the same city that owns it’s own money-losing hotel, it’s never turned a profit, in the middle of the tourist district.

        1. Yeah, a lot of cities are built on fall lines (settlements traditionally occurring where cargo needs to change modes of transport), so have hills. While you might get an older or out-of-shape person to ride a mile or so on flat terrain in nice weather, that number goes down drastically when they have to climb hills.

          1. They settled there for water mill siting.

            Old mills convert into some interesting-looking bldgs. They’re intrinsically boxy & ugly, but extrinsically attractive because rare. My friend Alley lives at The Mill on the Passaic’s associated canal in Little Falls. Yesterday I shopped w a friend at a furniture store in Newton NJ on Mill St. that was formerly a millenery mill. The Paulinskill & a tributary thereof run thru the property, some of the bldg. bridging them. Then of course there was the fictional Jonathan Creek (named after the real creek) who lived in a real converted windmill.

    2. The feds saw fit to give Sykesville, MD money to fix Rt 26 by my office as part of the stimulus package. I know this because they had a sign that said brought to you by the stimulus package. They included in the scope of the project that the county had to add a bike lane. So for just a half a mile there is a bike lane and then no lane and no shoulder to even ride on into the commercial retail area. I have seen zero bicycles in the bike lane.

  14. I saw a movie one time about some Limey university in the ’30s where they had “communal” bikes. The system worked like a charm, and everybody always had a bike available to ride whenever they had somewhere to go. Obviously this will work in 2016 America, you haters.

    1. The system will work like a charm if you make it hideously inefficient by providing a vast excess of bikes to what people want, thereby driving (heh) their value to 0. Then nobody steals them, & as they break they’re easily replaced.

      1. There was a Dilbert sequence about that involving pencils.

  15. Unfortunately, Uber’s model for providing these benefits?what with its gas-powered machines and refusal to comply with taxi regulations?was not nearly as popular with the Eugene city council. In November 2014 it started issuing fines for noncompliance, and when that proved ineffective sued the company to get it to close up shop. On Easter Sunday 2015, Uber ceased operating in the city.

    Sometimes you do get the gubmint you deserve, though not nearly as often or hard enough.

  16. That report, released in June 2014, emphasized that such systems help to relieve pressure on overburdened mass transit systems and provide users with a cheap and effective means of making short intra-city trips.

    Those facts have remained part of the city’s talking points over the last two years.

    Shouldn’t the word “facts” be in scare quotes? These sound more like unsupported assertions than provable facts. Although I guess to know for sure I’d have to read the report, but I think I’d rather be impaled alive and spit roasted over an open flame than do that.

  17. Christian, the link in “The news release it put out after the contract was inked describes Eugene Bike Share as “an innovative transportation solution for short urban trips” goes to a Uber shutdown release.

    And in the burying the lead department, the thing is being funded by a million dollar grant from the state from a slush fund for improving transportation.

  18. Tragedy of the commons, anyone?

    1. Where’s the tragedy? Right-thinking people have the warmest cockles of the hearts anywhere as a result.

      They just know this is the correct solution. Don’t bother them with your silly facts.

  19. Careful with that Trax, Eugene….

  20. An ADA lawsuit seems appropriate; why are they discriminating against those not able to ride a bike?

    1. The easiest solution is rickshaw/trailers. When a handicapper sees you grab a bike, they ask you where you’re going, and if it’s close to your destination, you can make them haul you there. A bit more on the nose than the average double-blind transfer system, but this just removes the skimming middle man.

      1. So, the wheelchair-bound tow the able-bodied? Sir, I like the cut of your jib. Do you have a newsletter or blog-type thing to which I could subscribe?

  21. Somewhere along the line, I read a story about a bike sharing system where it said the bikes all tended to collect at the bottom of hills. The city had to hire people specifically to go get the bikes and transport them (in internal combustion vehicles) back to higher ground.

    1. You are correct. Drum roll please….in Washington DC!

      Looking for the original article…

    2. They need those redistribution crews regardless of hills, because people take them to stores, buy stuff, and have to take a taxi or Uber back some place else. There are all sorts of one-way rides inherent in daily life.

      1. There are all sorts of one-way rides inherent in daily life.

        Sure. This is why we need government, to protect us from the scourge of hills.

  22. the city’s supposedly overcrowded public transit options

    Which are not overcrowded. The (independent) transit district has been cutting routes and frequency for years because they can’t, and have no incentive to, keep their unionized costs under control and has been focused on empire building of their capital intensive fixed bus “rapid” transit project.

  23. Charlottesville tried something similar while i was living there at the turn of the century. Within about a week and a half, every bike was gone. Some of them turned up later – in pieces by the train tracks.

    As i recall, Amsterdam did this too, and all the bikes ended up in the canals.

    1. I didn’t read the details or anything, but surely this isn’t a *free* thing? In NYC it isn’t terribly cheap (you have to pay a fee) and if you lose the bike, you pay for it.

    2. My White Bicycle (made popular by Nazareth, although they weren’t the first to record it) was inspired by the Amsterdam program, I’ve been told.

  24. I’m going to go way out on a branch and make a totally crazy prediction: not only will this fail to generate any revenue, will in fact lose a ton of money from theft, but it’ll be a permanent feature of Eugene far into the future thanks to cronyism.

    I expect you lot of deplorables to keep me honest if I’m wrong about this insane, utterly unforseeable prediction.

    1. That’s… that’s crazy. You’re talking like a crazy person.

  25. “How does that make sense?”

    A bike-sharing government contract allows lots of opportunity for graft, corruption, and the exercise of raw political power. Simply allowing Uber, doesn’t.

  26. Of course, nothing on whether it actually makes money. I know, I know, it’s not the point to central commie planners but someone has to pay for it, right? Here in Montreal, Bixi loses money and – surprise! – the city steps in and subsidizes it because culture and healthy and something, something.

    Mind of a progressive Luddite:

    Bikes good because no engine.
    Cars bad because engine.

  27. How big is the budget for repair and replacement?

  28. It’s pretty interesting in Tampa right now. Uber has been going up against the Public Transportation Commission trying to become legal in Hillsborough county. The PTC has even teamed up with taxi companies to run stings on Uber drivers operating in the county.

    Interesting part is that the Tampa Bay Lightning (the much beloved hockey team here in town) is actively promoting a partnership with Uber, and even has designated lanes outside of the arena for Uber drivers to pick up fans after games. They even did a publicity stunt where the Lightning’s mascot ordered up a Uber car (driven by Dave Andreychuk, whose statue is outside of the arena holding the Stanley Cup).

    1. Yeah. I also have no problem getting them to/from TPA, nor do the airport security seem to care.”

  29. Yes, you are right. Day by day traffic is increasing on road and bike share program is the best idea, less traffic on road, less pollution. Private sector employees use this sharing program.

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