Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bike-sharing in New Zealand

The following is from Waikato Times dated March 20 and includes the first bike-sharing programs in New Zealand. Welcome, Kiwis. The technology behind Goodgear, the New Zealand company managing this effort, is nextbike.

Bicycles built for few offered to public

By Michael Cummings

A public bicycle scheme launched in Hamilton this week could come as timely relief for motorists feeling the pinch from soaring petrol prices.

More than 40 bikes locked on racks at Waikato University, Garden Place, the transport centre on Anglesea St and on Hood St have been made available to the public.

Bicycle company Goodgear is behind the move, which is being backed by the Hamilton City Council.

People who have registered to use the bikes can call a number from their mobile phone, quote the number on the bike and it is released for their use.

When the bike is returned, the rider calls the number again and the fee is charged to their credit card.

The bikes cost $3 an hour or $15 for 24 hours.

Goodgear director Julian Hulls said the scheme was also operating in Auckland, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui and Rotorua.

"We're really very keen for this to be national," Mr Hulls said.

"Clearly, we have to start with baby steps."

The city council has provided the bike racks and is helping Goodgear promote the initiative.

The council's cycle projects engineer, Philip King, and councillor Daphne Bell went for a spin on the bikes at the official launch in Garden Place on Tuesday.

Cr Bell, a keen cyclist, said she hoped people got caught up in the rising popularity of pedal power.

"We need some early adopters, some pioneers to lead the way," she said.

Mr King said the availability of the bikes should help get cars off the road [...]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this sounds like a nice idea.
although I am not too keen on a cell phone being required for the ride.
it would be a good way to get funded though. bike sharing sponsored by (insert cell phone company here)!