Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Medellín's Student-Inspired Bici-K

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(in Spanish)

This September, Medellín, Colombia will unveil 160 public bicycles in the form of a pilot bike-sharing program. The bikes, featuring GPS tracking software and swipe card stations, cost the city about $500 each and will be free to use for up to 30 minutes from 5:30am to 7:30pm. The bikes were developed by three engineering students at Eafit University, who have dubbed their bikes "Bici K". The service is modeled after Santiago’s successful bike-sharing program, where users can sign up online or at one of the automated kiosks. The program will cut down on operational costs by partnering with the local Eafit University, from which 20 – 30 students will be hired to help manage the program.

In 2008, the District Council of Bogotá, the capital and largest city in Colombia, passed Agreement 346 to establish a bike-sharing service, "Bike-Bogota", but in the two years since, there has yet to be a feasibility study. If Medellín’s system’s is assessed as a success in December, it will expand with more bikes and more stations. Hopefully, this will help encourage Bogotá to take action on its mandate.

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