Does anyone know if the Boris bike scheme makes a profit or a loss?

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by Slo-mo, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    I was discussing cycle hire schemes with a few online acquaintances. I believe there are a couple in the UK that are run on a purely commercial basis?

    I just wondered where the Boris bikes fitted into this? Do the hire charges cover the cost of the scheme it does it need subsidising?
  2. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    They run at a loss. In the latest TfL budget, the average income/cost per hire is £1.16/£2.41 with 10 million hires/year.

    The "dockless" schemes have much lower overheads so can make a profit (or at least, convince their investors that a profit can be made at some point in the future)
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  3. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    How much do Santander pay ?
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  4. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    Not sure, but whatever it is I can tell you its had no influence whatsoever on who I bank with.

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  5. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    Probably not very much based on what Barclays paid ? 25million?
    marty21 likes this.
  6. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

  7. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Thanks guys. So on the evidence of London ( a sample size of one is admittedly pretty small) docked bike schemes can't make money, at least not without a big name sponsor.
  8. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Public transport generally can't make a profit.
    BigTom likes this.
  9. Borp

    Borp remember

    Worth noting the subsidy to the hire scheme is 16% which is the same as tfl's overall subsidy.

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  10. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Would you class cycle hire as public transport? I'm not sure one way or the other to be honest.

    If you are counting cycle hire as public transport, then why not car hire, which is pretty much exclusively provided on a commercial basis?
  11. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Hmm. Because bicycles can be ridden by anyone, but you need a license to drive a car?
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  12. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Fair point. That said, there are certain disabilities and health conditions that would make riding a bike impossible, but still allow for the driving of a car?

    And where do aircraft fit into this? Apart from the subsidised services to the Scottish Islands, most aircraft services are purely commercial?( although there are probably many hidden subsidies in there somewhere)

    Off topic for the London forum, but interesting nevertheless.
  13. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

  14. killer b

    killer b Nostrofuckingdamus

    Getting people to cycle short distances in the city centre instead of taking other transport options is a public good which benefits both the cyclist through raised activity, and the wider community through lower emmissions / less crowded trains, trams & buses. As such, it seems a reasonable thing to subsidise.
  15. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Any reason for that?
  16. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    It's a very reasonable thing to subsidise. I was just questioning if it counted as public transport.
  17. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    Because comparing a bike sharing scheme to car hire is mind fuckingly stupid?
  18. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    I don't agree. Don't get me wrong I think bike>car all day long. But I don't think it's a totally stupid comparison.
  19. BigTom

    BigTom Well-Known Member

    wrt bike hire scheme costs it's also worth remembering that if you are shifting people from car/taxi journeys onto bikes then you are saving the NHS money through improved air quality (so fewer resparitory illnesses) and improved individual health (from increased physical activitiy). This also applies to people coming off bus/train/tube wrt to individual health but not so much for public health as mass transit doesn't cause so much pollution per passenger journey.
    Not easy to measure but getting cycling up to 10% share estimated in 2014 would save the NHS £250m/year (nationally). So any public subsidy should be balanced off against saving to the NHS, even if we can't measure it accurately we should take this into account, it may actually be cost-neutral or even saving taxpayer money overall.
    (Also reduces road maintenance costs because bikes don't damage roads as much as cars/buses and can reduce congestion which also has a rated cost to the economy)
    Slo-mo likes this.
  20. Gromit

    Gromit International Man of Misery

    It can... if it's allowed to abandon unprofitable routes or times of the day.

    But generally they can't.
  21. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    (Since Crispy has answered my original question, let's go off topic )

    My understanding is that commuter routes could pretty much never be profitable due to the 'peak hour problem'. That said, public transport was run on a purely commercial basis in Victorian Britain so it can't be totally impossible to run a profitable railway or tram service. It would be interesting to see the numbers for some of the Big Four railway companies, or for some of the early petrol omnibus companies.
  22. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    The bikes suck anyway. They need to move with the times and get electric assisted ones already.

    Plus hiring one on a PAYG basis with a credit card is a major faff. Whoever designed the UI is a tool.
  23. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    Bike hire is subsidised and car hire isn't because the whole idea is to move people from cars to pollution free bikes.
  24. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    But isn't one of the points of public transport to cross-subsidise the unprofitable services with monies from the profitable ones?
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  25. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    That is what Derby is supposed to be doing. I say supposed because they were supposed to be installed by now.
    skyscraper101 likes this.
  26. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    If only we could view the value of something in terms other than profit.
  27. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    I like that there are various bike hire schemes , I've never hired a bike though. I haven't ridden a bike in about 40 years :D
  28. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    You see, that's a view I've got a lot of agreement with. But I also find transport economics ( and to some extent economics in general) quite interesting. I'm sad like that :D
  29. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

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  30. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat meh

    It's not really fair to compare the market for transport that existed in Victorian britain to what happens now. Other than the canals, the only alternative to railway travel for anything long distance involved horses and carts, and the alternative to buses / trams for local travel was to own or hire a horse and carriage.

    I can find a few pdfs of scholarly papers on the web, but nothing that easy to get at. the london chatham and dover railway is a fairly well known example of a victorian railway that was not exactly profitable (basics here) and i think there's quite a few that never made much of a profit.

    It's also quoted fairly often that at least two of the 'big four' were getting pretty close to the financial edge by 1948, although it's hard to say what would have happened if there hadn't been WW2.

    it depends on the legislative / political basis it's run on. it certainly can do that and (to a varying degree depending on national / local policies) did that in the UK under the national bus company / municipal bus operations.

    arguably, it happens a bit with the UK's rail franchises - some franchises attract payment from the train company to government, others vice versa. except the whole damn thing is so complicated, and so much money is taken out in the costs of running the whole absurd system - as well as profit, the costs of preparing franchise bids and all the fees for all the lawyers and bean counters - that it all costs a heck of a lot more than it ever did under BR.

    The 1986 deregulation of bus services in Scotland / Wales / England (except London) was driven by a political agenda based on small shopkeeper thinking - the late nicholas ridley (then secretary of state for transport) is on record as having said that running a bus service was no different to running a sweet shop, and visualised a lot of 'one man and his bus' operators competing with each other. to quote Captain Blackadder, this plan had a tiny flaw - it was bollocks.

    as things now stand, bus operators can decide what they are going to run on a commercial basis, down to what routes, times of day / week and what journeys they run. councils have the power (but increasingly not the budget) to procure services (e.g. rural areas, isolated estates, evening and Sunday journeys) that the free market doesn't provide.

    in market theory, any operator who is making excess profits will be vulnerable to competition and everything will be fine. in practice, long term sustainable and high quality competition has been fairly scarce...
    Slo-mo likes this.

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