Bicycle parking lot around Sugamo Station
The amount of tax paid by Toshima Ward in 2000 for taking measures against abandoned bicycles was approximately 1.2 billion yen. Among the areas around the stations in Toshima Ward, Sugamo was the area flooded with many abandoned bicycles next to Ikebukuro and Otsuka. In order to overcome the current situation, Toshima Ward promoted improvement of bicycle parking lots. To further increase management and services, "the system of designated managers" was introduced. The Ward decided to contract out the operation and management of three municipal bicycle parking lots around Sugamo Station. As a result of deliberation, NCD was selected to restart bicycle parking lots taking advantage of expertise of the private sector.
In January 2002, Toshima Ward announced introduction of an initiative to impose "tax on abandoned bicycles" as a solution to the chronic abandoned bicycle problem. This initiative was intended to impose 3,000 yen per person on railway companies that have stations in Toshima Ward as a cost for removing abandoned bicycles around the stations. It caused significant controversy in local governments and railway companies in the nation. While investigating such a system, Toshima Ward aggressively promoted improvement of existing and new bicycle parking lots.
For management and operation of facilities owned by a local government, "management contract system" had been applied so far and management and operation were contracted out only to corporations invested in by the local government or other public organisations. However, private companies designated by a local government were also permitted to perform operations as a "designated manager" for the local government due to revisions made to the Local Government Act in June 2003. Operation and management of a municipal bicycle parking facility were no exception. Thus, it became possible for the private sector to make full use of its expertise.In response to this, Toshima Ward immediately began to seek candidates for a designated manager of three ward bicycle parking lots around Sugamo Station.
For selection of a designated manager, 10 companies of 50 organisations involved in bicycle parking which participated in briefing session on application for the system submitted their own plans. Our plan was accepted, because it was not merely introduction of bicycle parking systems in those places, but also considered relevance with surrounding environment such as shopping areas and commercial facilities around Sugamo Station to resolve the problem town-wide.Because of NCD's unparalleled track record throughout the nation, NCD was selected as a designated manager based on a comprehensive evaluation.
The underlying idea behind EcoStation21 is the Public Private Partnership (PPP) method. This means "installation and operation" of a facility in cooperation with the public and private sectors. When we seek to resolve the bicycle parking problem, merely building a bicycle parking lot does not work. Even if illegally parked bicycles are removed from the place, there are many cases where bicycles driven out from one spot move to other parts of the town. Therefore, it is meaningless unless a resolution plan is not devised by understanding the bicycle parking problem from a macroscopic viewpoint including commercial facilities, railways and public land in the entire city.The ability to plan based on the idea of comprehensive consulting can be said to be NCD's strong point.
We also promised to offer a fair and highly transparent operation by establishing an external audit organisation and performing self-monitoring. In addition, we demonstrated our efforts to improve services by providing training workshops for managers and conducting questionnaires of users. All of these resulted in positive evaluation. Partly because we manage public facilities, we incorporated services for assisting the socially vulnerable such as elderly people and disabled people as well as users of special bicycles. We are also conscious of our role as a local safety facility by positioning security guards at night and combining the mechanical system with manpower.
We varied the system and rate plan depending on the location and situation of three bicycle parking lots. The plan, formulated with meticulous care resulted in an increase in turnover rate by 15% after installation. Results of measures against abandoned bicycles begin to be steadily produced.
The advantages of operation by the private sector is that a private company strives to improve services because if operations do not succeed, business won't be justified . Despite establishment of the designated manager system due to revision of the law, the of designation of private companies represents only 20 percent of the total. Considering how few private companies are selected but many corporation aggregates and foundations are selected, this successful example is significant. Because of the success at Sugamo, Toshima Ward is considering introducing system in other locations of the ward and expects resolution of the future bicycle problem.