Melbourne bike share is still in trouble?

By Sijia Huang

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It’s been going for years but Melbourne bike share still struggles to gain much interest.

Today Melbourne remains the only city with the bike hire scheme that has all-age, mandatory bicycle helmet law. Since bike share was introduced in Melbourne, it was advised that this law would suppress citizens from using the service.

William Parkinson, an annual subscriber to Melbourne bike share, said that the helmet law is not changing.

“People who ride bikes have to wear helmets or they will be fined by the helmet law, this has been for 30 years,” Mr Parkinson said.

In the past, wannabe cyclists have to find a helmet before setting off to their destinations , so helmet has always been considered as the main factor preventing people choosing shared bikes, but since a free courtesy trial has been adopted as a permanent feature of Melbourne bike share, the usage of shared bikes is increasing.

“As you can see there are a lot of bikes come with helmets, you can use it if you don’t have your own, more citizens start using this service when free helmets are provided” Mr Parkinson said.

There is growing enthusiasm for bike share in Melbourne but it’s sill ailing.

Tony Huang, an overseas student from Melbourne University, said the bike share scheme should be considered a form of public transport, and targeted at both locals and tourists.

“It is not so much for tourists but for commuters,”, Mr Huang said, “the price is pretty reasonable as long as the user stays longer in the free period, but for daily users, they only have a half an hour period to ride or they’re gonna have an extra charge.”

Riders pay a $60 annual subscription, or a daily fee of $3 or weekly fee of $8. Annual users could get their own keys and enjoy a ride up to 45 minutes per trip, which is obviously more worthwhile than the daily subscription if the user has a continuance intention.

Mr Parkinson also suggested that the bike share stations can be extended to more places. There are 50 docking stations in the CBD and inner suburbs. “It’s very useful within the city, but it would be better to have stations outside, coming to the edge of city,” he said.

However, some still believe the bike share scheme is “obviously not needed” in the CBD, with its walkable distances and free trams.

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