The Guardian reports that that London Bike Share is wildly profitable. Not only is it covering its operating costs, it will even be paying back the capital costs too.
Setting up the bike hire scheme is set to cost £140m over six years. TfL expect it will cover its operating costs within two to three years and will then be able to contribute to its implementation costs. Charlie Lloyd from the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) said, “It is very likely they will make some kind of profit on this, and you have to bear in mind that London Transport makes a loss on every single bus and tube journey. So this is a good value transport investment.“
This result is no great surprise. Though often derided by planners and politicians, bicycle transport is incredibly efficient. Imagine the kind of bike network possible if cycling received the same level of monetary and political support as highways or subways.
And, let’s also note that the bike sharing scheme has large ridership too:
Jeroen Weimar from Serco, the operating company, told the committee: “As of this morning there are 94,500 members of the bike hire scheme and between them they have made over 1,068,000 journeys.”
Indeed, one of the questions raised was whether London Bike Share is scalable. At what point do bike sharing stations become overwhelmed?
[David] Brown said the scheme could never deal with commuters from railway hubs like Victoria or Waterloo. “We could never cope with that level of demand. We would need docking stations the size of five football pitches.”
Perhaps Mr. Brown needs to visit central station in Amsterdam or Copenhagen.