The Business Case for Bike Sharing

Given that the vast majority of bike share programs in the world are consumer-focused, rarely if ever do you hear anyone making the business case, or demonstrating ROI for bike share programs.

Well, as the only privately-funded, venture-backed bike sharing company in the US, we need to show our customers ROI. The good news is, it's relatively easy to do. When auto giant GM adopted a fleet of Zagster bikes for use by its more than 19,000 employees at its Warren Technical Campus in Michigan (which holds 61 buildings across 330 acres) the company was looking forward to giving its employees a new transportation for traveling on, off and around campus during the workday.

Since the bikes were installed they have been a huge success with employees. In the first month alone more than 1,500 trips were taken on Zagster bikes which equates to about one for each GM employee who signed up for the service.

This kind of success typically takes a year for most citywide programs to achieve, and illustrates just how popular bikes can be at a company with thousands of employees spread over multiple buildings.

But the data show that employees aren't the only ones finding and advantage in a readily available, easy to use fleet of bikes. GM's corporate goals to increase productivity have also moved forward.

According to a survey of GM employees, Zagster bikes save each rider about 10 minutes of time that would otherwise be spent walking long distances or waiting for a shuttle. When you multiply that number by the total number of employees who have used Zagster, the minutes saved total up to about the equivalent of one full-time employee.

It's not a bad start, and may just be the beginning of a trend among large employers using bike share programs to increase employee well-being, productivity and efficiency.

We've seen (and will report soon on) solid ROI from our other private sector clients and believe this is key to the future of bike sharing. Demonstrating ROI is the best way to deflate criticism from detractors, reduce taxpayer burden, and ensure the long term sustainability of any program. You can read more about how GM is using Zagster’s bikes here.