Just go on and take it. Really.

In Seattle recently, five green bikes appeared at a bus stop one day.   There was a message on each bike that read, “Please return to any bus stop. For maintenance, contact Guy.” 

It was part of a new free public transportation called Green Bikes and it was the brainchild of a man name Guy Olson from the area.  His idea is that people can borrow a bike, use it, and then return it.  Seems like a good idea, eh?

Now you may remember that the city of Portland tried something similar called the Yellow Bike Project in the 1990’s.  The concept was good and seemingly altruistic, but they eventually scrapped the project because bikes were being stripped down or stolen. 

So now it seems that Guy is going to give it a go in Seattle to see if he can get that proverbial boat to float.

I wondered, why hasn’t anyone ever tried this with cars or trucks.  I mean, we have rental vehicles that anyone can rent out for a day or for a week.  But there hasn’t been any public vehicle system set up where people can just take a car — use it for a couple hours and then return it.  That’s right, because the idea would fail miserably … or would it?  If Redbox can rent movies with an automated swipe of a credit card, then why couldn’t someone do something similar with vehicles?  Well someone has. 

I was checking out ZipCar.com and found out that there is a company out east that has tackled this feat.  Customers can sign up for the service and get a member’s card.  They can put a monetary balance on the card and then reserve a vehicle.  Then all they have to do is go to where the vehicle is parked, hold their card up to the windshield, and the doors will unlock.  Since insurance and gas costs are included in their prepaid fees, all they have to do is use the vehicle for their reserved time and then return it to the same spot.  This retro Napoleonesque vid will explain it all.  The vid is an actual commercial that the company uses on their website to advertise their services.



Keen idea, eh.  We’ll have to wait to see if the idea takes off successfully or if all of their vehicles all end up stipped down and sold off for parts.  Your guess is a good as mine.

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