A bicycle public rental system basing on a mobile application.
Over the last few years, bicycle-sharing has become really popular in Poland. The residents of Milanówek were also interested in such a way of using bicycles, but to make sure it’s the proper solution for a small town, local authorities decided to test a bicycle rental system.
To make it easy to launch, a bicycle-sharing system based on a mobile application was used. To rent a bike, users needed only the mobile application on their smartphone, where they could book a bicycle, begin and complete a renting process. Rental points were located in the key places of the town (shops, the playground, the cemetery, the town hall, the railway station) and – an additional one – in the nearest big city (Grodzisk Mazowiecki). It did not require installation of rental stations - only simple stands and return sites marked with special tapes or painted signs.
Each of 35 bicycles had a GPS locator which helped to collect a lot of data (routes, number of rentals, average time and distance of ride and the most popular rental point locations) useful for further infrastructure development planning.
A survey conducted among the users showed that they were satisfied with the bicycle-sharing system, mainly because of low costs (the Town Council subsidised the real renting costs) and the right locations of rental points. They also appreciated the fact that a rental point was located in the nearest big city (Grodzisk Mazowiecki) next to the railway station.
The local authorities:
-signed an agreement with a private operator, who was responsible for operating the system and data collection;
-paid for running the system and for free travels for each user (first 7 minutes);
-shared the costs of rental for each following 30 minutes.
It costed 25000€.
Evidence of success
The test of the bicycle-sharing solution showed that despite the speficific conditions in the garden-town, residents were interested in using bicycles in that way. During the test period there were 134 users who rented bikes 399 times. Average rental time reached 30 minutes, although 50% of rentals lasted less than 12 minutes.
Due to the success of the system, negotiations of the neighboring municipalities are underway in order to implement one integrated system of the city bike.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice can be useful especially in small towns and neighborhoods which do not have enough land owned by the municipality and with legal frameworks requiring special building permits for docking stations. It is also well justified in towns which just begin to promote cycling and still need to get the data about cyclists’ habits in order to plan the development of bicycle infrastructure correctly.
Practice is also useful for cities that want to enable residents to quickly get to public buildings by participating in the costs of renting the bike and those whose mobility policy aims to develop and promote low-emission forms of public transport.
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