The Miami-based company has been selected by San Diego, Calif., to launch its bike-share program, and is among the finalists for Tampas planned service. DecoBike last summer also launched a small but successful outpost in Long Beach, N.Y., though that operation was curtailed by Hurricane Sandy.
We paved the way to show people its a viable mode of alternative transportation, said DecoBike chief marketing officer Colby Reese. Were glad to see its turning out the way we planned it.
But can DecoBikes success on the compact, relatively bike-friendly Beach, which has been in part dependent on use by tourists, translate to the much larger Miami?
Officials in both cities, as well as DecoBikes owners, say yes.
On the Beach, though many tourists use DecoBikes to scope out the scenery, its core patrons are locals using the bikes exactly as intended, for transportation, said Saul Francis, director of the citys parking department, which oversees the bike-share program.
And Francis gives DecoBike high marks for meeting promised goals and knowing how to distribute its 100 stations and 1,000 bikes to maximize their use. DecoBikes figures for the Beach program show each of its bikes is used from four to five times a day, a turnover rate which the company says is the highest in the country.
They get an A, Francis said. DecoBike has performed extremely well, and the numbers speak for themselves.
DecoBikes existing stations are concentrated in South Beach, but also extend north along Collins Avenue to North Beach and Normandy Isle, and into Surfside just over the city line. The company is about to add a handful of stations in neighboring Bay Harbor Islands.
Despite initial fears by some, DecoBike users have experienced no major mishaps and the company has suffered only minor vandalism and theft, city and corporate officials say.
Its gone very smoothly, Reese said. We thought it would be much wilder.
They expect the expansion into Miami to go smoothly, too, especially given that its base of operations is in the citys Omni District.
The company warehouse is a busy place packed with bikes, many in storage from the Long Beach program. Bikes are constantly being cleaned, lubed and repaired and then sent back out into service on trailers towed by trucks. The company has about 30 employees, Diaz says.
The Miami program will initially focus its stations in dense neighborhoods along the coastline and commercial corridors, including downtown and the Brickell financial and entertainment districts. Reese and Diaz expect heavy use in night hotspots like Brickell Village, Midtown Miami and Wynwood. Much of the Beach use, in fact, comes after dark (the bikes are equipped with friction-powered lights).
If Miami commissioners approve the deal, DecoBikes could start rolling out eight months after that. If the program is successful, the agreement calls for eventual expansion beyond the initial 50 stations.
DecoBike and Miami officials also hope to fully integrate the program with Miami Beachs, so that users could pick up a bike in one city and return it in the other. Francis said the Beach would agree so long as it doesnt reduce the number of bikes available to its residents.