Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Bike Rental in Auckland
One of the saddest sites in Auckland City are the rows of rental bicycles that go unused every day. The concept is simple. Call a number from your phone and the operators will give you the code that unlocks the bike's security chain.
Maybe it's winter, so there is less foot traffic down here in the Viaduct? Or maybe the problem is a little more deep seated. I took this snap when I went for a lunchtime stroll. When I came back to the office I looked at the image closely and noticed the web address of the operator. On closer inspection I see that you have to register your credit card online to be able to use the equipment. Not only is this 'too hard' but it eliminates the spontaneity of seeing the bikes and thinking "That's a good idea - I'll give it a try."
Maybe we simply have too small a population to support the idea? Or the prospect of cycling in downtown Auckland is roughly as appealing as being a policeman in Bagdhad? (I've done it - commuting cross-town - and living to tell the tale).
From the look of the bikes - almost no wear on the tyres and oxidising foot pedals - my guess is that the concept isn't working. The website also reports that bikes have been removed from tourist spots like Rotorua and Tauranga.
Shame really, good idea whose time may yet come