The British Isles
Today the Cardiff, Wales City Council announced it will launch its bike-sharing scheme tomorrow with 70 bikes and 10 stations, according to the BBC and Wales Online. The system will be run by OYBike which has similar systems in London, Cambridge, Reading, and Farnborough in the U.K.
Last week the English resort city of Blackpool launched Hire-a-bike by Cycle Blackpool approximately the same size system as Cardiff's, but operated by Hourbike which has a small system in Bristol. The Guardian reports that Cycle Blackpool will grow the system to 500 bikes and 100 stations before next spring.
Dublinbikes, the JCDecaux system started earlier this month as reported here, has had incredible success. With 1,000 riders on the first day and 6,000 riders the first week, according to the Independent, this 450-bike system has a respectable two trips per bike per day usage rate.
These small bike-sharing roll outs all bode well for the next spring’s large London Cycle Hire scheme which you can read about here.
Three new and innovative bike-sharing systems began in the last few months in France. Unlike most French systems, these programs are not supported by street furniture advertising, but are municipally and/or transit company-owned and operated. All three have solar powered docking stations. Vélopop in Avignon is a 200-bike program that uses the Smoove Key system. It is operated by TCRA, the public bus system in Avignon. Vélocéa in Vannes has 175 bikes in 20 stations and is owned by the municipal government. Vélo Bleu in Nice as first reported here, began with 900 bikes in 90 stations, and is owned by a regional government cooperative. It has high ridership, but says Metro, it is plagued by theft. Both these cities use the Veloway system. The new Rennes, Vélo STAR, though inaugurated this month, began service in June. Owned by the regional government, its 900 bikes have been used by 50,000 riders. The 80 stations are integrated with the subway and bus system in this Keolis operated system. Vélo STAR is around four times larger than the system it replaced as reported here.
The small country of Luxembourg has a new and interesting bike-sharing system in the little city of Esch-sur-Alzette. Vël’OK has only 120 bikes and 15 stations. It is joint venture between a nonprofit group and the municipality. It plans on expanding to 300 bikes next year. It demonstrates bike-sharing is stationing in smaller communities outside of France, Germany, Britain, and Italy.
The big news in Italy is that Turin will finally join the 41-city Bicincittà system this spring. It will start with 58 stations and might be called either “BikeTo” or “BicinTorino” according to Metro.
Reuters is reporting that the municipalities of Greater Nicosia, Cyprus have agreed to launch a region-wide bike-sharing program soon. The RFID card service will cover the seven municipalities of Nicosia which include Aglandjia, Strovolos, Lakatamia, Latsia, Ayios Dometios, Engomi and the city centre. Clear Channel Outdoor has announced a new SmartBikes program in Kayseri, Turkey.
Bixi is continuing its summer demonstration schedule into the fall. This weekend in Boston, MA for the Saturday professional bike race and the Sunday fun bike ride, there will be two bike-share demonstrations of Bixi. For more information see: Bike-sharing in Boston.
Images: vélopop, vël'ok, & Blackpool