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EU Digs Deep in Public Rental Bikes

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The huge popularity of public bike rental schemes like Velib in Paris didnt escape the attention of the EU government. The European Commission initiated an extensive study to the implantation of public rental bike systems in Europe over the past two years. The outcome of this study

EU Digs Deep in Public Rental Bikes

BRUSSEL, Belgium – The huge popularity of public bike rental schemes like Velib in Paris didn’t escape the attention of the EU government. The European Commission initiated an extensive study to the implantation of public rental bike systems in Europe over the past two years.

The outcome of this study was recently published by consultant agency SpiCycles that carried out the study. In close cooperation with six big cities SpiCycles gathered experiences related to specific areas of cycling policy in these cities.

The project already started in 2006. At that time public bike rental systems were not such a hot issue as they are today. During the investigation period SpiCycles focused on key elements such as communication and awareness raising and the building of local partnerships, which could increase the modal share of cycling.

Propelled by Velib the public rental bike systems have become a common policy of nearly all larger cities in Europe who struggle with congestions and air pollution and it gained global attention. Now SpiCycles has published its report and formulated its recommendations and conclusions.

The changing relevance of cycling for city policy makers and transport planners makes SpiCycle conclusions even more relevant then expected at the start of the project.

SpiCycles discusses nine subjects in its final report. These are; finances, the implementation of bicycle measures, the future orientation, institutional cooperation, human resources, bicycle parking, users’ acceptance and preferences, communications and awareness, local partnerships.

One of the recommendations mentioned in the report is not to put out combined-service tenders. SpiCycles writes that it is clear that a combination of very different modules within one tender leads to less than optimal results. Two tenders will lead to greater efficiency than one tender for two different services.

Tenders should be issued for public bicycles as a stand-alone service or, at the most, combined with other mobility-related services such as an integrated public transport tender. If public bicycles are combined with other sources of revenue for cities, the public can lose control.

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