I love coming to Melbourne. Not only is it a chance for me to catch up with friends and investors at events such as the Calnan Flack Investment Club Meetings and Forecasting Conference, it’s also a fantastic city where the impact of the economic drivers are as plain as day for all to see.
The social and economic impact of the ‘Free Inner-City Trams’ is evident by the sheer numbers of commuters using the service. It was only a few years ago that my now almost forgotten Myki Card was one of the first things I packed when coming across from Adelaide.
It still amazes me how busy these trams are well into the night. In Adelaide catching any form of public transport is generally considered an individual sport, but catching a tram at 10pm at night (assuming you can find one) is an isolating experience. But NOT in Melbourne where Ian and I have often had to tussle and manoeuvre to catch a late night tram.
Our experience tells us that improvements to the transportation system is one of the quickest drivers to manifest back into the land price.
But the OBikes I just love.
Those gleaming Grey and Yellow bicycles sprinkled around the city taking on the RACV’s Blue Bike concept.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these pushies, you see the OBike is part of a new ‘High Tech Bike Sharing Platform’.
And like all new disruptive businesses they are causing a stir as regulators struggle to keep up. In the spirit of the freedom the internet provides, these bikes have no home, no docking bay or central point of collection/deposit.
Their home is the street.
The bikes can be left in any public parking area where they are remotely locked and unlocked via a mobile phone app.
This means once the rider has reached their destination, or the time they have purchased has expired, they simply leave the bike anywhere they like. As one could imagine his is causing some angst for many councils with bikes being found in all sorts of places! However, this is all just the typical growing pains of a new technology and business model as they iron out all the kinks.
I have been watching the development of these bikes and have been stunned to see so many bikes now venturing outside the ‘Inner City’. Last time I was in Melbourne we drove through Essendon and Aberfeldie and there they were – the OBike’s were all over the place. In fact they have even ventured into my home town of Adelaide, with 100 of them let loose last October – a little less than the 1,000 released in Sydney.
The idea was born in Singapore, where the company boasts more than 100,000 daily rentals. This compares with the RACV’s Blue Bikes peddling up about 175,000 customers between June 2015 and July 2016.
Technology is once again at the cornerstone enabling the outcome of society’s push for ‘Sharing Platforms’. It’s bikes today. It will be the car tomorrow. It is the same sharing notion that enables ‘Blockchain’, ‘Peer to Peer Lending’ and ‘Bitcoin’ to evolve into socially acceptable behaviour.
‘The city needs to invest in new technology to maintain its place as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Failure to implement the right technology will see Melbourne’s infrastructure fail to keep up with the demands of a growing population’. (Technology Investor – Richard Celm)
Just as many people before us said that ‘No, I would never use an ATM’ or ‘No, I will never use the sorcery of the electric light’ or ‘No, a horse has always pulled my plough’, we will look back and scoff at those who say ‘No, I will always own and drive my own car’.
More information on OBike can be found here: