Bike Walk Tompkins, a program of Ithaca Carshare, Inc., requests letters of interest from bikeshare system operators to launch a community-wide bikeshare system in Ithaca, NY, serving the Cornell University campus, downtown Ithaca, and surrounding areas by early spring 2018.

The deadline for responses (December 1, 2017 5 PM EST) has passed. The RFI remains available for reference.

Over the winter, the Bike Walk Tompkins bikeshare advisory group will review the letters and consult with prospective bikeshare companies. The group will make a decision by late winter. For questions or comments, contact Hector Chang at hector@bikewalktompkins.org or (607) 301-3181.

Three-page RFI

Questions & ANswers

Questions and answers will be posted here in the order that they are addressed.

Q: How do I answer questions given our business model (ex. equipment sold to local operator)?

A: Between pages 2 and 3 there are two sets of questions, "Details of any proposed contract with a local operator (i.e. Ithaca Carshare)" and "Details of any proposed local operations by system provider (i.e. your company)". Using the example in the question above, we expect that the respondent will answer in detail the "local operator" set of questions, and optionally the second set of questions based on experience and best practices gleaned from other systems they've contracted with. A bikeshare system that is owned and operated (O&O) by the provider should answer in detail the second set of questions and optionally the first set, especially if the provider is interested in contracting out some of their Ithaca-based operations. We do not have a strong preference towards any particular business model, but we will compare the features and value-for-money of systems that are locally O&O, provider O&O, or somewhere in between.

Q: Will letters be made public after they are submitted?

A: We will not make the letters public but we will share them in full with our partners at Cornell University and any entities necessary to establish a reliable bikeshare system in Ithaca. We may communicate our findings with other organizations we work with across the US. We're not a public agency, so we're not required to release the letters in full. However, we at Bike Walk Tompkins tend to work cooperatively with other groups on various projects. Feel free to mark anything confidential if necessary.

Q: What is the nature of our relationship with Cornell University and the City of Ithaca?

A: We are working cooperatively with the City and Cornell University staff on bringing bikeshare to Ithaca. We've worked closely in the past to establish a carsharing service here so they've deferred to our decision-making process to select the bikeshare system most appropriate for our community.

Q: How many bicycles are we expecting?

A: We do not have a specific number of bicycles in mind and will defer to the experience of bikeshare companies to right-size the system. Within the RFI there are population numbers and visitor estimates. As additional guidance, currently there is a bikeshare system with 32 bikes on the Cornell campus and the existing system does not extend into the city. Going forward, we would like to see increases in the number of bikeshare bikes available in both the Cornell campus and the city.

Q: What are we expecting for a "map of proposed geofenced area in Ithaca where flexible parking would be allowed"?

A: With this question we'd like to know where your company will allow bicycles to be parked in the city and on campus, particularly if your system can be parked anywhere. Specific locations marked on a map is preferred (i.e. polygons for free-floating areas and/or points for specific stations or hubs), even if they are not the final locations. Otherwise, you may just describe the areas and/or stations.

Q: What are the next steps after this RFI?

A: Over the winter, we will examine the RFIs and clarify details with prospective bikeshare systems. We will make a decision on a bikeshare vendor later this winter season, and then we will work with the successful vendor to establish their system in Ithaca and Cornell. The method will most likely be through MOUs or a permit rather than a formal RFP process to ensure expediency.

Q: Is Ithaca College included within the proposed service area?

A: Currently, Ithaca College is not included because it is outside of city limits. However, if your company would like to operate in an area that extends beyond the city limits for your initial launch, please make note of it and we may be able to engage the appropriate parties as necessary.