Richmond releases RVA Bike Share revenue update

RICHMOND, Va. — A clearer financial picture of Richmond’s bike share program is coming to light as the nearly 18-month-old endeavor enters its second phase.

RVA Bike Share has generated just over $83,000 in revenue since launching in August 2017, as of November, according to numbers provided this week by the city. Those numbers were not made available for a BizSense report on the program last week.

User fees and memberships accounted for $59,800 in revenue, while dock station sponsorships added $11,200 and advertisements on station kiosk panels contributed $12,000. That’s according to a breakdown provided by the city public works department, which includes the program.

The revenue total covers about one-fifth of the $393,000 it costs to operate and maintain the program annually. But that cost – paid monthly to Canada-based vendor Bewegen – is covered using funds from a $1.06 million grant the city was awarded in 2014 by the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program.

The city used that grant, along with $280,000 in capital improvement funding, to launch the program in 2017. The grant amount provides enough funding to cover the program for about 2½ years, meaning the program, which is nearing the 18-month mark, has about another year before it would need another revenue source.

Until then, the program is not costing the city beyond its initial $280,000 capital improvement investment. In a presentation Tuesday, Jakob Helmboldt, who oversees the program as the city’s pedestrian, bicycle and trails coordinator, told City Council’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee that, as of now, the program does not affect the city’s general fund.

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