Exec talks about the future of bike-sharing in North America

With bicycle-sharing coming to Boston (MA) in a few months, Fortune interviewed Alta Bicycle Share president Alison Cohen about technology, revenues, and the future of bike sharing in North America.

On technology:
“Our bikes and stations are built by Public Bike System of Montreal…With a system that’s secure like that, theft and vandalism are very minimal. The only real theft we’ve seen in the U.S. has been people using a stolen credit card to take a bike and not return it.”

On paying for the system:
“Most of the public funding is federal money to support capital purchases. And our projections are that within about three to four years, these may be public transit systems that are actually self-sustaining. What’s more, compared to other capital investments, it’s tiny. A quarter-mile of subway can cost billions. With bike sharing you can get a city-changing system for less than $10 million.”

On the outlook for 2012:
“New York has a request for proposal out for a 10,000-bike system launching in 2012. Vancouver, 4,000 bikes, likely 2012. Seattle. San Francisco. The Bay Area. And the incoming director of transportation for Chicago is a huge bike-share fanatic; it wouldn’t surprise me if they try and do something very quickly.”

Link to full story in Fortune.

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