Have we seen people pining away for lack of a bike in the city? Is Calgary suffering economic pain as we can’t draw labor as skilled professionals are demanding a bike sharing program? Is it impossible for people to navigate the city without a borrowed/rented bike? Have we seen citizens loudly demanding that Calgary adopt a bike sharing program?
The answer to all of the above questions is a simple and resounding NO! Despite that some fool has managed to waste $24,000 tax dollars for a report on bike sharing that is so biased in origin that it is worthy only of the trash heap. Was it really that hard to find out that we don’t need this program?
Generating these foolish reports is great work if you can get it. A bike sharing company was paid $255 per page to essentially compile an advertisement for their services. One would think the idiotic bureaucrat that commissioned this report would at least have tried to find one degree of separation between the company making the report and the company potentially providing the service.
For those not familiar with it, bike sharing is an idealistic notion that has been tried around the world with almost universal failure at great cost to whoever funds it whether non-profit groups or local governments. The idea is that people may quickly and inexpensively rent bikes from stations placed around the city, ride to their destination and then drop the bike off at another station assuming that one is near their destination. I guess the notion is that it would reduce on automotive and public transit use.
As I had said, this has failed all around the world and for a myriad of reasons. Theft and vandalism destroyed the vast majority of past bike sharing programs. I get a kick out of the handful of supporters on this one making excuses. Montreal is losing a fortune on this wasteful concept. They have tried advertising to offset the costs (supporters point to that as a means to make it sustainable). Supporters are also blaming the advertising saying that it causes the vandalism. I guess bored anti-capitalists target bike ads or something. Either way, that excuse holds no water. Most of the prior and failed programs died due to theft and vandalism and many of them did not have advertising.
Many of the self-styled social engineers who promote pap such as bike sharing love to point out how great cities such as Paris are. Well the picture above is of vandalised bikes in Paris’s failed sharing program. They put out 15,000 bikes and half of them were stolen. Many of the rest were destroyed.
Some say the solution to the theft/vandalism problem is to charge more and to have an onerous registration system for users. This does indeed expose how supporters of socialized bike use have utterly no concept of supply and demand. If you demand a person register before use, pass a credit test and spend a pile of money; chances are they simply are not going to use the service.
Lets face it people. Responsible people with good credit and spare money will buy their own bikes or choose whatever other form of transportation that they please. They will not want to go through an annoying process to sit on a bike of questionable cleanliness and shape in order to pedal to a station that may not be convenient to them. Those who somehow can’t afford their own bikes or transit however are also those prone to stealing and destroying property. May not be a nice fact of life but that is how it goes.
Montreal has Canada’s largest bike share program through Bixi. That whole mess has become such a disaster that the city of Montreal lent $108,000,000 to the failing company in order to bail it out. Yes people, over one hundred million tax dollars have been invested in that loser so that they may hope to make money in other parts of the world as they are losing millions locally. This folks is utter insanity.
Dozens of failed bike sharing programs can be found in minutes. Those still operating are costing their local taxpayers a fortune (an ongoing failure). The wikipedia article on bike sharing gives a pretty good history on the concept and while a positive spin is attempted, it is undercut through the listing of failed programs worldwide.
Now should Calgary follow the report recommendations, taxpayers will spend an estimated $2.5 million to put 400 bikes on the road. City programs are consistently over budget so it is likely closer to three million tax dollars. Bear in mind folks, this is simply start-up costs. Ongoing expenses will mount annually. The optimistic estimated operating cost of this system will be over $1.1 million per year on top of the millions spent in setup.
Calgary taxpayers are expected to spend millions so that a couple hundred people can ride bikes for perhaps 7 operational months per year!
While this all sounds so stupid that people would think there is no way that our city council would allow this program to go through, we do have to keep in mind how stupid our city council has traditionally acted with our tax dollars. I am happy to see that Nenshi, Chabot and even Comrade Pincott do not think this idea will float. Despite this, we must be vigilant. City hall has had a knack of letting such projects slip through the cracks and then blaming the approval on inside civil servants rather than taking responsibility. They must be watched at all times and have no doubt there are at least a few who think this bike boondoggle would make a perfect legacy project for themselves.
Taxes rise every year while Calgary city council acts as if it is impossible to cut spending. How much spending per year is there on stupid reports such as this one anyway?
Keep an eye on this one people. The supporters of this bike sharing waste will not give up easily and any effort to move forward with this idiocy must be nipped in the bud.