The bicycle-friendly community rejoices about the month-long supervised bicycle park. The experiment promotes the sharing economy and sustainable living.
The long-awaited supervised bicycle park started on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at Lahti Market Square. The practice runs on a voluntary basis by Inspis; a flourishing third sector organization who cares for social and environmental causes in Lahti. Inspis was founded in 2009, support youngsters facing difficulties and at risk of unemployment, referred to as NEET. Furthermore, the supervised service introduces citizens to the sharing economy by offering bicycle maintenance and access to a wide range of tools. The service offers supervision for 84 bicycles at a time. The service also offers 15 shared city bikes, which can be borrowed free of charge by showing an identity card and giving their telephone number as insurance. Thus, practising trust between the citizen and the service. Trust is an empirical part of the sharing economy.
Lahti, like other cities in Europe, faces the problem of bicycle theft. The experiment is a solution to the accelerating problem. Thus, joint stakeholders to the project are the city of Lahti, Inspis, and Lahti market square. The citizens act as direct beneficiaries of the practice while the city of Lahti indirectly benefits as the practice reduces carbon emissions and promotes the city's measures to reach Lahti's ambitious climate goals.
Funding from the city of Lahti in 2020 was around 1500 euro, the continuation of the project in the year 2021 received 3000 euro in funding from the participatory budgeting project organized city of Lahti.
Inspis help annually around 50 NEET youngsters mainly by on-the-job training possibilities.
Evidence of success
In participatory budgeting proposals for 2021, the project's continuation received 751 votes, from a total of 3896 votes proving measurable results of citizen's activation in the sharing economy.
Lahti market square is very lively and there is a great benefit to have a bike park among the people. Unfortunately, the noticeability of the service was lacking. Other challenges were short opening hours, weekdays from 10 am to 3 pm, and lack of proper funding.
Potential for learning or transfer
To keep in mind for future implementations of the practice. The opening hours should be based on citizens' requests. Marketing and social media are essential tools and should provide information and promote the practice actively to citizens.
The surveillance hours were from 10am to 3pm on weekdays. Sadly, the hours are not ideal for Lahti residents. The surveilled park lacked participants. The supervised parking space was on a parking lot on the edge of the local market in the Lahti centre.
The market is very lively, and there is a great benefit to have the surveilled park among the people in the city centre. Unfortunately, residents do not seem to notice the service. Inspis reassures that the feedback has been solely positive. Feedback of gratitude for providing bicycle surveillance services and praise that the project brought a sense of safety.