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Why The Best Companies Win Big With Bike Sharing

While cities across the United States are playing catch-up to the worldwide explosion in bike sharing, some of the world’s best and most innovative organizations have been realizing the value of bike shares for years.

We’ve already established that corporate bike shares can pay for themselves in real, economically significant ways while offering health and wellness benefits, and improving working conditions and employee morale.

Of course, that’s just theoretical – which is why we love to see things working out in the real world, as in our Detroit deployment with Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures. Our 60 bikes there are available to more than 9,000 Quicken/Rock employees free of charge, and they’ve been using them to play their part in reinvigorating the struggling economy of downtown Detroit.

Successes like this are helping people make the case for bike sharing on corporate campuses as well as at universities, hotels and residential high-rises. They’re a great way to promote sustainable business practices, add extra cachet to your brand, recruit top talent, and solve transportation issues.

In our experience, prospective bike sharing programs generally get challenged by two departments: risk management and procurement. In the past, companies were limited to two options: joining a citywide bike share or running things on their own. Joining a citywide bike share is generally costly, allows for little flexibility, and may not address transportation problems effectively. Meanwhile, self-run bike shares are typically founded on noble ideas, but they often run into issues with affordability, ease of use, and risk (both fiscal and physical).

Buying a fleet of cheap bikes can seem like a good idea at first, but maintenance and a host of other issues can keep them from being worthwhile. Just a few common pitfalls:

  • The hardware are subject to theft and vandalism

  • Oversight and management turn out to be inadequate unless you hire someone full-time to maintain the fleet – an inefficient and expensive proposition

  • Inadequate maintenance lead to safety issues and high replacement costs

  • Inconvenient, non-automated rental processes dull the benefits of bike shares and make people less likely to use them

That’s where outside contractors come in. Outsourcing business services often makes much more sense, allowing you to focus on your core business rather than having personnel take the time to learn and manage a department that isn’t your company’s bread and butter.

Sure, you could in theory set up an internal Department of Cleaning to keep things tidy – or you could hire a cleaning company so you don’t have to worry about hiring and managing cleaning people, buying supplies, dealing with potential theft, and other such concerns. These same principles apply to bike sharing: Instead of dealing with the many issues that spring up from self-managing your bike fleet, you can capitalize on Zagster’s technological expertise and years of experience in the industry.

The benefits of bike sharing are clear – but the devil’s in the details. Consider the risks and the cost before embarking on a self-run bike share, and talk to Zagster’s experts about how you can bring affordable bike sharing to your company – headache-free.