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Changes are coming to Tempe’s GRID bike share service

Changes are coming to Tempe’s GRID bike share service 2020-10-14Leave a comment

electrical bike Modifications are coming to Tempe’s GRID bike share service

Outdated software program and funding cuts have pressured town to search for a brand new contractor to function the service

The Metropolis of Tempe will quickly seek for a brand new contractor to function the GRID Bike Share service after outdated software program, and ASU funding cuts pressured town to reevaluate this system.  

The Tempe Metropolis Council directed metropolis employees on Oct. 1 to start out the search course of for a brand new contractor. GRID’s present contractor, CycleHop, has had bother conserving the bikes’ software program up to date and the fleet operational, based on a memo ready by transportation employees and given to town council.

The choice to alter contractors might lead to this system quickly coming to a halt subsequent September. 

In line with Tempe Public Data Officer TaiAnna Yee, what in the end spurred the necessity for council motion was the lack of funding beforehand offered by ASU.

The bike share program is used most on ASU’s Tempe campus and all through the encircling downtown Tempe space, based on knowledge introduced on the council assembly. As a result of this demand, when this system first launched, ASU agreed to pay half of CycleHop’s annual $100,000 payment, based on Yee. 

ASU notified town in June that it was not fascinated with renewing this settlement, the memo mentioned. When requested in regards to the choice, an ASU spokesperson mentioned, “Due to the present scenario with the bike supplier, this system is simply not viable,” however didn’t remark additional.

The lack of funding got here when town couldn’t afford to tackle an extra $50,000 dedication to this system, based on Tempe Mayor Corey Woods.

“We’re hemorrhaging cash at a time the place we are able to’t afford to be hemorrhaging cash, throughout the center of a pandemic when metropolis budgets are already tremendously stretched,” Woods mentioned at a metropolis council assembly Oct. 1. 

Woods mentioned he believes the one applicable possibility is to start the seek for a brand new contractor.

Tempe started working with CycleHop when it added the GRID bike share program in 2017, becoming a member of Mesa and Phoenix in providing the regional bike share service. The bikes are parked in hubs, and riders pay to take away a motorbike and experience it to a distinct hub.

Whereas Tempe owns 300 bikes and 32 bike stations, CycleHop has been accountable for working the system. The corporate makes positive the bikes are in working order and ensures the bikes are evenly unfold all through town, Yee mentioned.

When the bikes have been bought in 2017, CycleHop outfitted them with software program from a subcontractor, Social Bicycles. In line with the memo, CycleHop mentioned in early 2019 that the bikes weren’t receiving software program updates.

Zach Woolley, a freshman finding out sports activities journalism, incessantly makes use of the GRID bikes and mentioned that the outdated software program and {hardware} usually have a adverse impact on his expertise. He mentioned the touchscreens on the bikes are sometimes unresponsive and require him to enter info a number of occasions.

“You get to the purpose the place for those who’re within the daytime and also you’re making an attempt to hire a motorbike, you may’t even see (the touchscreen) when placing your PIN quantity in,” Woolley mentioned. “It turns into very onerous, it turns into a really lengthy, drawn-out course of when it actually shouldn’t be that arduous to hire a motorbike.” 

In an try to repair the software program issues, CycleHop and Tempe agreed to an answer in October 2019 that might have up to date the software program and made the fleet operational, however the plan was by no means carried out, Yee mentioned. 

Throughout this identical time interval, electrical scooters started rising in recognition. Presently, town has licensed three completely different electrical scooter suppliers with six purposes pending, the memo mentioned.

The rise in competitors has taken a toll on the GRID bike share program.

“Electrical scooters flooded the micromobility market, changing the bike share applications in a single day,” the memo mentioned.

The outdated software program and improve in related modes of transportation have resulted in an total lower in ridership. The whole variety of bike share journeys taken in Tempe dropped to 1,644 in 2019 after reaching a peak of roughly 4,000 journeys the yr prior, based on the memo.

Woolley mentioned he’s not shocked that electrical scooters have impacted GRID’s enterprise. He mentioned the one factor conserving him from switching over is the $25 GRID scholar go he purchased originally of the college yr.

“Ought to the bikes go away, I’ll be advantageous with it as a result of if I do know I must get someplace, I’ve different modes of transportation within the scooters and presumably even simply shopping for my very own bike,” Woolley mentioned. 

As town strikes ahead with on the lookout for one other contractor, it might want to undergo a technique of looking for bids, reviewing them and getting their last choose permitted by town council, Yee mentioned. 

It may be a prolonged course of and will lead to this system quickly coming to a halt when the present contract ends in September of 2021, Woods mentioned.

Even with the stoppage, that is the choice that makes probably the most sense to Woods.

“Issues would lapse, and this system would cease in the interim, however from my perspective, it’s probably the most fiscally accountable factor to do,” Woods mentioned.


Attain the reporter at atonoder@asu.edu or observe @AndrewOnodera on Twitter.

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