DecoBikes – Miami Beach’s popular bicycle sharing program – has stretched from South Beach to North Beach, bringing praise to Miami Beach from urbanists to tourists.
But the DecoBikes vendor, which bid on a program it said would be sustained by user revenue, is back at City Hall for the second time since the program launched, asking for permission to sell advertising on the bike rental kiosks.
This time, it looks like approval of some kind of advertising scheme is likely. It’s being recommended by the city administration and the City Commission approved it on first reading last week.
DecoBikes started its service in March 2011. In July, it asked for permission to place ads 7 feet by 2 feet on the lime green devices where you check out bikes. The city first delayed a decision until September, and then said no.
In the meantime, DecoBikes expanded its service from South Beach to Middle and North Beach. In much of the Beach, there’s a DecoBike station every few blocks. It operates 83 stations with 850 bicycles, and plans to install 27 more stations during the next three months.
The company says it lost $387,561 during 2011. It projects a loss of $76,500 for this year, despite increasing ridership and revenue.
DecoBikes does sell ads on the bicycles themselves; currently the baskets on the bikes features an ad for the W hotel on South Beach.
In the administration’s analysis of the issue, City Manager Jorge Gonzalez noted that when the city planning staff held workshops on kiosk advertising last year, “a majority of people who spoke at those meetings were opposed to any kind of advertising on the Deco Bike kiosks….some individuals stated that the matter should be reconsidered after one year of operation and after the city audits the books to verify whether advertising revenue is necessary to make this program financially viable.”
The recommendation from the Miami Beach administration would allow advertising on 40 of DecoBikes kiosks, which it estimates would generate about $211,200 in advertising (after the city takes a cut of $57,600). The ads would be a minimum of 22 inches by 48 inches on each of the 40 kiosks.
A public hearing on the proposal will take place July 18.
What do you think?