The People Trails have long been an important piece of the recreational quality of life for Columbus residents. With more than 27 miles of paved paths dedicated to walking, hiking and biking, the People Trails system is a tremendous asset.
However, a recent survey conducted for the Columbus Park Foundation’s ColumBIKE bike-sharing program indicated that many people perceived Columbus as not being a bike-friendly community. That came as a surprise and indicated that the city has work to do, because people’s perceptions are their realities.
For example, some potential bike-rental customers expressed in the survey uncertainty about taking the step of renting a bike because of safety concerns. Others complained about the pricing structure and the requirement that bike renters check the bikes in every 30 minutes.
The park foundation, working with Six Sigma experts in Columbus, put their heads together and have come up with some strategies to relaunch the bike-sharing system for its second year. The goal is to reverse a steady month-over-month decline of bike rentals seen in the system’s first year, from late May through December, and address the perceptions that the community is bike-unfriendly.
For example, a longer checkout period when renting a bike is in the works, as is a new pricing structure and a user-incentive program.
It’s smart of the park foundation to adjust some components of the ColumBIKE program for a more successful second year. The city wants to be perceived as being bike friendly. Listening to the feedback of users so they can have a more enjoyable experience is one way to do that.