Depending on the operating model, bikeshare alone may not generate significant revenue, and it can be a difficult sell to politicians who may have concerns about the financial sustainability of bikeshare. Building political will—particularly among more than one political party—is critical to successful design, coordination, and implementation, as well as long-term sustainability. For a deeper dive into approaches to cultivate support from policymakers for sustainable transportation projects, see GIZ/SUTP’s “Sustainable Mobility: Getting People on Board”.
Educating political officials about the potential of bikeshare is an important first step, especially if public funding will be sought to finance the system. Identifying goals for the bikeshare system, and linking those goals to existing citywide sustainability efforts can help to contextualize bikeshare’s benefits. Case studies of how bikeshare in other cities has already generated benefits such as increased access to public transit, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions due to fewer vehicle trips, and improvements in physical activity and overall health, along with site visits to those cities to meet with implementers, can also build a political case. Research on social costs and benefits of investing in cycling infrastructure, like the Netherland’s Ministry of Transport’s evaluation tool, sheds even more light on how a bikeshare program can benefit a city.
In Indonesia, Bandung’s bikeshare system, Boseh, is heavily supported by the city’s mayor, Ridwan Kamil, a long-time cycling advocate who co-founded a bikeshare pilot at the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) in 2012, before he was mayor. Early on in his administration, Kamil initiated a program called Bike to School, which encouraged students (and their parents) and teachers to choose biking instead of their cars. In 2016, Mayor Kamil included procurement for bikeshare in budget plans for the city, and helped facilitate a feasibility study. The city government manages Boseh, which began trial operations in August 2017, and the system is fully funded through the Bandung Department of Transportation. Mayor Kamil frames bikeshare, and cycling more generally, as a means of reducing congestion and setting Bandung on a path toward more healthy, sustainable development patterns.