Tag Archives: green transportation

DecoBikes kiosks still unreliable, company says

The folks at DecoBikes continue to struggle with wireless connections at their bike sharing check-out stations.

On Thursday,  the kiosks on Belle Isle and around Sunset Harbour — on Purdy and in front of Publix on 20th Street– appeared to be working fine, but on Friday, they advised customers to use other transportation until problems are fixed.

We apologize for this inconvenience and we suggest you do not use DecoBike stations in Miami Beach today.”

According to an update from DecoBikes, they are having specific problems at the following stations:

108 – Michigan Ave & 3rd Street

116 – Ocean Dr & 14th Street

117 – Ocean Dr & 14th Place

118 – 13th Street & Washington Ave

119 – 11th Street & Washington Ave

121 – 7th Street & Collins Ave

128 – Pennsylvania Ave & 13th Street

140 – Pennsylvania Ave & 15th Street

143 – 15 Street & Collins Ave

147 – Pennsylvania Ave & Lincoln Rd

149 – Meridian Ave & 17th Street

208 – 35th Street & Collins Ave

306 – 69th Street & Collins Ave

DecoBikes is working with its wireless provider, T-Mobile, to work out the rest of the kinks. In an email to customers, they advise “while many stations are functioning, we caution riders that service could be interemittent and result in delays in their travel times.  If you have any questions regarding this issue, please send us an email:  info@decobike.com.”   

DecoBikes is back asking for ads on kiosks

DecoBikes on Belle Isle. Advertising would go on the lime green device.

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?

Should Decobike racks (like on Belle Isle) include advertising?

DecoBike rack on Belle Isle, near the bus shelter.

The folks behind the Decobike bicycle sharing program say that despite widespread use of their two-wheelers — and you see folks riding the bikes all over South Beach — the program isn’t generating enough revenue for it to expand to mid-Beach and North Beach.

They say allowing advertising on the rental kiosks will do the trick. There are Decobike stations almost every three blocks on South Beach, including one on on Venetian Way in Belle Isle Park. It’s easy to count 50 in the general South Beach/Sunset Harbor area right now. The ads would be 7 feet by 2 feet in size.

They would translate into a lot little billboards. The city commission couldn’t decide what to do about the issue in July, and referred Decobikes request to the commission Finance and Citywide Projects Committee. The item comes up this Wednesday, Sept. 14 — though the committee hasn’t made a recommendation yet.

A group called Scenic Miami, which is active on billboard and signage issues acround Miami and Miami Beach, is advocating against the ads. They say the city needs a better solution than adding advertisements to what will end up being 100 different locations around Miami Beach.

Herb Frank, a Belle Isle Homeowner Association board member, is active with Scenic Miami. A letter circulated by Herb and wife Barbara says:

Although community support for the Decobike rental initiative is growing, the failure of the program to meet its revenue targets should be addressed in ways other than the  city authorizing advertising on the kiosks.  Advertising on kiosks would be an eyesore, not only for those located on residential streets and in parks, but also in commercial areas, where this would be a visual detriment to already cluttered streetscapes.

In an editorial in late July, The Miami Herald advocated a different position:

Revisit the contract and each side give a little. Agree to smaller ads? Maybe in fewer locations? The city kicks in a small subsidy?

Just keep this smart and popular program rolling.

The commission meets Wednesday after 6 p.m.What do you think? Leave a comment.