This somehow passed me by: although I knew that SmartBikeDC is set to launch Real Soon Now (apparently permitting problems have delayed its launch from March) and will therefore probably be the first bike-sharing program I’ll get to use, the real prize for the first “smart bike sharing” system in the country goes to… the Tulsa Townies, which launched last spring.
The off-the-shelf technology from QI Systems Inc. cost its sponsor a mere $300,000. Even more interestingly, the sponsor is a local health foundation and hospital started by “a pioneer Oklahoma oilman.” QI has also helped to launch a bike-sharing scheme at Humana headquarters in downtown Louisville, which may expand to the general public.
Arlington, using a $200,000 VDOT grant, is going with Nextbike, which uses mobile phone payments and offered its services to Arlington at $750 per bike [PDF of staff recommendation memo]. (via WashCycle)
Update 25 Sep 08: Montreal’s parking authority, Stationnement de Montréal, is also offering up its Bixi system as a turnkey solution for other cities. One key advantage: solar-powered kiosks, which prevents the nasty electric-company issues that delayed SmartBikeDC for months.