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A Private Bike Share Option

This past weekend, I was in Charleston, SC.  During a city tour, our guide pointed out a bike corral that’s part of a city-wide bike share system.  And she said it was run by a private company.  My local government ears perked up.  Private?  Really?

So, when I got back home, I did some reading.  And yes, sure enough, the bike share program, Holy Spokes, is run by a private company, Gotcha Bike, which operates similar programs in various cities around the country.

As far as I can tell, this doesn’t cost the city anything.  The company has a contract with the city that allows it to operate on city property, but the company is responsible for all the costs.  They have some sponsorship from a local university, and they charge fees to borrow bikes.  Really quite reasonable fees, if you ask me.  $8/day, $15/month, or $69/year.  Sounds like a deal.

There’s been talk in Raleigh about bike share.  These sorts of things have popped up in other cities.  And I’ve been concerned about taxpayer funding.  If people really want them, surely there’s a private market for it, right?

Yes, there is.  Holy Spokes demonstrates that.

Julie Tisdale / City and County Policy Analyst

Julie Tisdale is City and County Policy Analyst at the John Locke Foundation. Before coming to the Locke Foundation as the research publications coordinator, she worked at the...

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