On August 14th, the City of Philadelphia held a pre-proposal meeting for companies that are interested in submitting a proposal to win a ten-year concession agreement to operate Indego, the City’s public use bike share system. Here’s what we learned.
Indego was launched in 2015 by the City using a combination of its own capital dollars, grant funds and a sponsorship from Independence Blue Cross, which runs until 2022. Bicycle Transit Systems is the current operator of Indego and holds that agreement until the end of 2020.
The Indego system has 133 stations covering 23 square miles with 12 new stations expected in next month. Indego owns 1446 conventional bikes and has 250 e-bikes (out of 400 ordered) on the street. The system has 6000 pass holders, of which 10% are low income individuals and 50% are women. Currently, the system runs a small annual deficit.
The City of Philadelphia is one of the founding members of the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), which also includes the Bicycle Coalition, as well as PeopleForBikes and NACTO.
Through BBSP, the City has focused on understanding the barriers to the use of bike share in low income and communities of color and has worked to overcome them. This has included installing Indego stations in underserved neighborhoods, creating cash payment and discount pass options for the program, as well as marketing, education and outreach programs aimed at reaching low income Philadelphians.
The City is looking for an operator to run Indego 2.0 for ten years starting in 2021. It developed a new business plan to expand service and continue to invest in equity initiatives.
At least 12 companies attended Wednesday’s meeting in person or by phone, including the current operator. They have until September 20th to respond to the City’s Request For Proposal. The City expects that negotiations over the concession agreement will go through early 2020 and that the Council process to approve the agreement will occur in late spring 2020. Anticipated commencement of the new agreement will be January 2021.
This RFP for Indego 2.0 is separate from the dockless electric bike pilot that the City issued a regulation for this past June.