Google bike in the wild

Biking in Heels spots a Google bike in Kendall Square and chats to its rider about the company's fleet of bikes for its Kendall Square employees.

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    How about Hubway instead?

    Now that Hubway has arrived in Cambridge, maybe there could be Hubway depots at each Google building and Google could arrange for all its employees to get memberships. The Google employees would be able to get around and Hubway would be strengthened for everyone. (though Google would lose this cute branding opportunity)

    May not meet their needs

    Hubway bikes are limited to 30 minutes and you have to put them in where there is a hubway dock.

    This may not meet the needs of the Google employees if, say, they want to bike for an hour for exercise or they need to go somewhere that hubway is not and lock up and then return.

    I've run into this with Hubway myself, exchanging bikes on the fly and not having any place to lock up while I went about my errands. Google may not want to deal with the limitations.

    Not what the g-bikes are for

    Their purpose here is to allow Googlers to move more easily between the office at Cambridge Center and 141 Portland St. They're really not designed to be general errand running bikes, at least from what I was told when the showed up in the bike cage. Using them for exercise is totally outside the scope of these bikes.

    FWIW, I'd love it if Hubway would put a station nearer to Kendall Square Plaza than currently exists. The station on Vassar St. is just far enough away that it erases most time savings I'd gain by biking by having to walk in what is usually, for me, the wrong direction for 5-10 minutes.

    Three reasons

    - Cute, kitschy branding opportunity, as you said.

    - Hubway costs $85/year per member. Even imagining a corporate group rate, multiplying the membership cost X the number of local Google employees is several thousands of dollars, annually. In this narrow respect the question for Google amounts to a rent vs. own decision.

    - Those Google employees will be paying out of pocket (er, credit card) every time they have a bike out of the corral for 30 minutes or over... OK, not a huge sticking point. But in order to facilitate this, each member creates a Hubway user account associated with their credit card. In this respect, it's a convenience for Google's staff to keep the bike share in-house.
    [OR, in a protective-parent twist, maybe Google would assume all additional charges on behalf of their employees' Hubway accounts... and that would simply balloon the cost described in the previous point.]

    personally, as a Hubway member, their bikes are ridiculously heavy. the bike pictured in the article looks much lighter.

    Insurance issues, too

    Google is using these bikes so that people can get between work areas.

    I remember when I worked at an outlying lab and had to get to the main office area for meetings, there were worker's comp sort of insurance issues when my boss requisitioned some bicycles for staff use.