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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why TIME Magazine Got the Bixi Story Wrong | dc.streetsblog.org

Major media have a habit of blowing bike-share problems out of proportion. Witness the 2009 BBC story that cast theft and vandalism as an existential threat to Velib in Paris. Five years later, Velib is still going strong. The most recent entry in the genre is Christopher Matthews’ misguided story on the Bixi bankruptcy in TIME. Headline: “Why America’s Grand Bike-Sharing Experiment Is Failing.”
There’s a reason that Divvy was fed up with Bixi’s software, but TIME didn’t explain why. Photo: John Greenfield
The main mistake Matthews makes is to conflate Bixi’s troubles with the fate of American bike-share overall:
The question now is whether this is the beginning of the end for the bike-sharing experiments that have spread quickly across the U.S. So far, officials from various bike-sharing programs are saying no.
This is a poor way to frame the issue, for a few reasons. While Bixi is the dominant supplier in the American bike-share market, it is far from the only one. Medium-sized systems in Denver, Miami Beach, and Austin use equipment from other companies, so the Bixi bankruptcy doesn’t affect all U.S. bike-share systems.

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