Friday, August 24, 2007

Beijing's Bike-Sharing

An alert reader has pointed me to infor on Beijing's bike-sharing program. According to BikeRadar, "After the overwhelming success of Paris' bike rental scheme China is jumping on the bandwagon with a project five times the size of the one in the French capital. In the recent months the Beijing Government has been trialling a bike rental scheme at 31 hire stations around the capital. This week it announced its expansion, with 200 outlets planned in time for the 2008 Summer Games."

Additionally, this program has a different business plan. "As well as tackling pollution, the scheme is aimed at reducing bike theft in Beijing. Unlike in Europe, where advertising agencies have been given premium space in exchange for running rental schemes, Beijing's bike programme is being sponsored by the anti-theft arm of the municipal public security bureau and the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau. Police officer Wang Xiaobing told China Daily: 'This is like a centralized management of bicycles so that citizens won't have to worry about thefts.' "

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pre-Velib' Bicycle Data

In a document titled "Vélib’ à Paris", useful statistics are provided about Paris in its efforts of becoming a worldclass bicycle city. Some interesting numbers :

- 231 miles (371 km) of cycle tracks (physically separated bike lanes) in 2006, and
- 1.63% of all trips were made by cyclists in 2006.

They'll need a new scale for this graph for 2007 as the mode share could be as high as, dare I say 15%, with the new 20,600 bikes on the street. These baseline numbers will be helpful in determining just how successful bike-sharing has been for the city. As I've mentioned in earlier posts on The Bike-sharing Blog, Lyon experienced a 400-500% increase in bike model share in 2 1/2 years with Velo'v and Barcelona experienced a 100% increase in three months with Bicing.

Enter Sevilla and Córdoba

Córdoba and Sevilla, Spain will be launching the Cyclocity bike-sharing technology offered by JCDecaux in 2008. According to AutoblogGreen, the Córdoba program, Ciclocity, will be on the smallish size with 35 bikes and 4 stations. The service will be offered free to registered members. The Sevilla program, Sevici, will be on a grander scale with 2,500 bikes and 250 stations.

Along with these two Spanish programs and the five new programs to be launched in France in 2008, it looks like it'll be a busy year for JCDecaux.

photo credit:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Today, Call a Bike launched its 6th program, this one in Karlsruhe, Germany. This bike-sharing program has a fleet of 350 bikes. With a phone number and unique bike number printed on every bike, folks can rent a Call a Bike via their mobile phone for 8 cents per minute, or at a lower 6 cents per minute rate with a special rail "BahnCard". This means a 30-minute ride on a Call a Bike costs between $1.80 and $2.40.

Rather than specific station locations where the bikes could be be picked up and returned, the bikes can be returned to any intersection in the center city and locked to a fixed object, like a bike rack or street sign post, with a strong cable lock that is built into the bike. This provides great flexibility as customers can get within feet of their destination with the public bikes.

The Deutsche Bahn source is in German, however, can be translated with AltaVista's Babelfish.

photo credit: Call a Bike

Seoul and London are On Deck

As reported in The Korea Times, Seoul is planning to launch a bike-sharing program similar to Velib' soon. According to the article, Seoulites Can Borrow Bicycles, "The city plans to first set up 200 bike stations in Songpa-gu where cycle routes are well prepared with about 5,000 bikes and expand the project to other areas of the city."

Also, reported in The Financial Times and Road Cycling UK, London's Mayor Ken Livingstone was so impressed with Velib' which he rode during a visit to watch the Tour de France that he requested Transport for London to examine the feasbility of such a program in London to promote cycling.

Livingstone said, "Cycling is a clean, fast and cheap way to get around London and we have seen an 83 per cent increase in cycling since I became Mayor. I have seen the Paris Freedom Bike scheme, and discussed it with the Mayor of Paris. It clearly works and is highly popular. I have asked transport officials in London to study the Parisian and similar schemes in order to draw up proposals for a scheme which would meet the needs of London. I am sure that we can learn from the success of the Parisian and similar schemes to expand access to cycling in London."

photo credit: Will Fox

BikeDispenser Does Just That

Dutch company Springtime has developed the BikeDispenser to provide bike-sharing in Amsterdam. A fleet of adjustable mini-bikes are housed inside the structure and accessible for customers with a membership smartcard. The bikes may be returned at another BikeDispenser location.

This is a new way of dispensing bikes in the West that is popular in Japan and other Asian countries.

photo credit: BikeDispenser

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Velib' Rolls Past its Millionth Trip

According to Australian news website, Paris's Velib' bike-sharing program has reached an important milestone after just three weeks since its launch - 1,000,000 trips have been made on the utilitarian public bicycles.

Paris's deputy mayor for transport, Denis Baupin, states that an average of 6 trips are made on each bike every day. With 10,000 bikes at the present time, it's no wonder that so many trips by bike have been made. Baupin goes on to say, "Once all the stations are up and running, Velib will be carrying as many people as the Paris tramway." How do you like that - bike transit is only 12 years old (since the launch of Copenhagen's Bycyklen in 1995) and it's maturing into a transit system with the capabilities of a tramway system, albeit relatively new as well.

The article also states the bike-sharing program has been so successful that Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe has ordered a feasability study on extending the scheme into the Paris suburbs. Look out, Copenhagen, it looks like Paris wants the title of World Bike Town.