Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brisbane Cycle Centre

The Brisbane City Council has undertaken an assessment of the performance of the Cycle Centre located in the King George Square Bus Station. The assessment included a survey of current users of the facility. They have not published the report on-line but the Brisbane Times has a good article on it.

The Cycle Centre is owned by the Council but operated by Cycle2City. The photos are from their web site where they also have a video tour of the facility.

The main concern of the report is the slow growth in membership. At the time the research was done (June 2009) the centre was only at 50% capacity of the 420 spaces available. I popped in there a week ago to get stuff from the cycle workshop and they said they were around 75% full now. For the first week back after New Year I was impressed by how busy it was.Some of the reasons cited for the slow growth in membership were
  • location: the centre is far from the main business centre of the city and around a third of members have to walk or catch a bus over 800m from the centre to their places of employment. Including a second Cycle Centre as part of a future Cross River Rail station in the Riverside precinct would be good. Although the Roma Street precinct is set rapidly growing the new buildings are all most likely to have their own cycle facilities for staff and so the need for the centre is reduced.
  • Fee structure: At $4 a day for a 6 month membership or $8 for casual use ($5 to just park the bike) the cost puts many off using the facility. Reading the comments at the end of the article are interesting as cost seems to be the main reason many don't use the facility. Yet current users are happy that the cost is less than public transport and includes secure parking, a locker, shower and towel it is too expensive for many.
  • Marketing: The report highlights poor marketing as a reason for the slow growth and the managers admit they took time to realise people would not just walk in the door. From a discussion with the manager six months ago I learned that one of their big marketing coups was approaching businesses instead of individuals. Approaching business without their own cycle facilities to buy memberships for their staff brought in quite a few new memberships. Businesses wanting better 'green' credentials but constrained by their facilities were willing to buy into this. Being located in an older part of the city where most buildings don't have end of trip facilities for cyclists would be good.
The Cycle Centre may have taken a bit of time to get going but I would hesitate to call it a white elephant (one of the comments on the news article). Although growth in membership may be slow there is further growth potential as the Roma Street precinct grows and improved cycle facilities are provided through the city. Within 5 years there will probably be a need for a second Cycle Centre in the city.

Brisbane's second Cycle Centre has now opened at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital busway station serving a very different market. It will be interesting to see how it performs over the next 12 months.

1 comment:

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