Your Typical Portland Success Story

Based, of course, in Green&Sustainable Portland, Alta Bicycle Share’s largest rollout in the USA to date has been in New York City. As with all things green&sustainable, the company’s NYC effort has failed to achieve sustainability, much less profitability.

When CitiBike was launched, the hope and expectation was that it would be profitable for its operator, Alta Bicycle Share, and that therefore Alta would have every incentive to expand the scheme organically. (More bikes = more profit!) It hasn’t worked out that way, however, which means that if CitiBike is ever going to make it uptown, or into Queens, or further into Brooklyn, it’s going to need some kind of public funds.

Which is to say, the corporate sponsorship of CitiBank is insufficient; in order to be “successful” Alta’s going to have to get subsidies from the government. Just not as much as, say, a streetcar.

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About maxredlines

experience: biology, zoology, psychology. authored/co-authored papers appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as numerous professional proceedings. authored articles appearing in computer-oriented publications. featured in publications ranging from books to New Yorker magazine to television.
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5 Responses to Your Typical Portland Success Story

  1. lectorconstans says:

    PPS: I found it just after posting that. Among railroad people, it’s called a pilot.

  2. lectorconstans says:

    From bicycles to “high-speed trains” (and “low-speed” trains, like Amtrak), nothing seems to be profitable.

    I’ve heard there’s this new thing, the “auto-mobile” that just might make some headway.

    • maxredlines says:

      I kinda worry about high-speed trains, should they ever get here. They’re going to need really big cow cowcatchers – and do bison count?

      Of course, high-speed trains work really well in countries the size of, say, Rhode Island.

      • lectorconstans says:

        The cowcatcher was designed to gently lift the bovine beast out of the way of the lumbering locomotive – going perhaps 30 mph. At 100+ mph, we may need a redesign.

        PS (Trivia): Invented by Charles Babbage, that extraordinary Victorian.

      • maxredlines says:

        Babbage had a finger in just about everything of the era, it seems. Cows were a lot lighter back then, as well. Higher speeds + heavier animals = a lot of hamburger.

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