Saturday, October 16, 2010

Melbourne's helmet vending machines

Photo source: article by J Williams

Melbourne has just launched a 3 month trial of a helmet vending machine at two of their bike share station. It is hoped that this will allow more people to use the scheme on a whim. Lets hope this is successful in attracting more people to the scheme. More details can be found here in an article and video by The Age. At a cost of $5 with $3 refund on return to a 7-Eleven they are a bargain. I suspect the vending machines will be the source of helmets for more than just the users of the bike share scheme. Not a bad thing in itself.

Since May the scheme has been used for 20,700 trips. That equates to less than 175 trips per day. They are doing a bit of a marketing push to get more users on the bikes in spring, giving away a $1,000 resort voucher for people joining the scheme.

The scheme is far more focused on casual users than Brisbane's as can be seen in their pricing and the ability to sign up using your credit card at a vending machine. To use Brisbane's scheme on a whim you have to plan at least a week in advance and sign up via the Internet, eventually getting your card after a week or so. Once you have the card you can have daily use at any time. The cost of daily hire and the forward planning required makes it very unattractive for occasional users and largely inaccessible to tourists. I assume this was intentional so as not to impinge on existing bicycle hire businesses aimed at the tourist trade.


Daily

Weekly

Brisbane CityCycle

$11

Not available

Melbourne Bikeshare

$2.50

$8


It will be interesting comparing the two schemes after a year to see which model has been most successful in attracting users, and what the user profile is.

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