10. Operator

The operator — as should be obvious — is the entity required to operate the PBS. In the majority of systems, the operator works subject to a contractual agreement with the governing body. This mandate, discussed in detail in the next chapter, usually contains enforceable and monetarily defined levels of service that, if met and exceeded, should create a system that meets the furthest-reaching goals set down by the governing body of the PBS. An operator of a PBS performs a similar service and has a similar structure to an operator of other public transportation system, although some specialization does occur.

The photographs and figures below illustrate some of the aspects of the ‘Operator’ chapter in the book Bicycle Sharing 101: Getting the Wheels Turning. They are meant to be viewed in the context of reading that chapter. 

CONTRIBUTE YOUR PEER REVIEW of this chapter. If you are an industry expert who has read the book, we would value your feedback.

FIG 1: The diagram below shows a typical operator structure.

BS101 Operator


ABOVE: Nubija handles customer service and redistribution from this state-of-the-art control center in Changwon, South Korea.


ABOVE: Zhuzhou Public Bike has utilized dead space underneath an overpass for storage of bicycles and an accompanying repair center.


ABOVE: These redistribution trailers in London and Barcelona take differing approaches to the problem of carrying bicycles efficiently without their rubbing together and scratching, and with easy loading and unloading.


ABOVE: Even distribution and maintenance are by bicycle in Austria’s Citybike system, with the mechanic’s bicycle pulling a trailer that can redistribute four bicycles. [Image courtesy Chris Trees]
FIG 2: The table below summarizes the key attributes of a redistribution vehicle.



Low loading level Easier and quicker loading and unloading of bicycles; eases strain on the attendant
Easy and quick securing and locking mechanism for each bicycle Decreases the time and hassle of loading and unloading and locking a few bicycles at a time
Bicycle mount mechanism maximizes space without allowing bicycles to rub together Scratches and marks decrease the visual appeal of the bicycles, negatively impacting the public perception of the entire system
Capacity to pull a trailer Varies the vehicle’s capacity and creates a more fuel-efficient vehicle that is easier to drive when trailer is not attached
Fuel-efficient, alternative fuel source or man powered Reinforces the perception of the system as an environmentally friendly public transportation option
Branded with the system name and logo Creates awareness of the PBS and provides possible advertising space for sponsors


ABOVE: Nubija maintenance and repair facility in Changwon, South Korea
FIG 3: The evolution of operational models illustrated here allows the governing body to provide the same services with the same resources, but with more control over the service delivery through service levels discussed in more detail in the book.

BS101 Outdoor Advertiser Model

Would you like to add to the discussion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: