Bicycle sharing system

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The Hangzhou Public Bicycle programme in China, the second largest bicycle sharing system in the world[1]
The Vélib' in Paris is the largest bikesharing programme outside of China[1][2]

A bicycle sharing system, or bike share scheme, is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short term basis. Bike share schemes allow people to borrow a bike from point "A" and return it at point "B". All free from the worries of ownership.

Bike-share has seen explosive, global growth over recent years. As of April 2013 there were around 535 bike-sharing programmes around the world, made of an estimated fleet of 517,000 bicycles. In May 2011 there were around 375 schemes comprising 236,000 bikes.[3] So those two years saw a doubling of bike share globally.

Many bike-share systems offer subscriptions that make the first 30–45 minutes of use very inexpensive, encouraging their use as transportation. In most bike-share cities, people seeking a bicycle for casual riding over several hours or days are better served by bicycle rental than by bike-share.

Bike-share use is made more predictable with Smartphone mapping apps which show where nearby stations are located and how many bikes are available at each station. This is also important for riders looking to return a bike; they need to know if there is a dock open at a certain station, since stations can fill up with bikes. So using bike-share to get around a city is made far easier with real-time, GPS-based smartphone apps with bike-share station information overlaid on a city map.

The reasons people use bike-share vary considerably. In some cities, people who might use their own bicycle as transportation don’t do so because of concerns about theft or vandalism. In addition, many bike-share users find bike-share extremely liberating. A rider can seamlessly transfer to public transit or to a car without concern about leaving a bike behind: a person can ride to meet someone in a city, leave the bike-share bike then walk with them, tourists go from hotel to museum to show, citizens can take visiting friends or family to local attractions with bike-share, users may take public transit to work on a rainy day then ride home afterwards when the weather improves... the flexibility of not having to always park and own a bicycle make life freer and easier for the growing number of bike-share users globally.

The Wuhan and Hangzhou Public Bicycle bike-share programmes in China are the largest in the world, with around 90,000 and 60,000 bicycles respectively. In Hangzhou there are over 2,400 stations. The Vélib' in Paris, which comprises around 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 bicycle stations, is the largest outside of China.[2] The countries with the most systems are Spain (132), Italy (104), and China (79).[1][3] The systems with the higher market penetration are both operating in France, the Parisian Velib' with 1 bike per 97 inhabitants and Vélo'v in Lyon with 1 bike per 121 residents.[4]

Bicycle sharing systems can be divided into two general categories: "Community Bike programmes" organised mostly by local community groups or non-profit organisations; and "Smart Bike programmes" implemented by government agencies, sometimes in a public-private partnership. The central concept of these systems is to provide free or affordable access to bicycles for short-distance trips in an urban area as an alternative to motorised public transport or private vehicles, thereby reducing traffic congestion, noise, and air pollution. Bicycle sharing systems have also been cited as a way to solve the "last mile" problem and connect users to public transit networks.[5]

Public bike sharing programmes address some of the primary disadvantages to bicycle ownership, including loss from theft or vandalism, lack of parking or storage, and maintenance requirements.[6][7] However, by limiting the number of places where bicycles can be rented or returned, the service itself essentially becomes a form of public transit, and has therefore been criticised as less convenient than a privately owned bicycle capable of point-to-point transport.[8] Government-run bicycle sharing programmes can also prove costly to the public unless subsidised by commercial interests, typically in the form of advertising on stations or the bicycles themselves.[9]

Bike-sharing systems have undergone changes which can be categorised into three key phases, or generations. These include the first generation, called white bikes (or free bikes); the second generation of coin-deposit systems; and the third generation, or information technology (IT) based systems. Recent technological and operational improvements are also paving the way for a fourth generation, known as the demand-responsive, multimodal system.[1][10]


White bicycles for free use, in Hoge Veluwe national park, the Netherlands

Although users of such systems generally pay to use vehicles that they themselves do not own, sharing systems differ from traditional for-profit bike rental businesses. The first bike sharing projects were largely initiated by local community organisations, either as charitable projects intended for the disadvantaged, or to promote bicycles as a non-polluting form of transport. In recent years, in an effort to reduce losses from theft and vandalism, many bike-sharing schemes now require a user to provide a monetary deposit or other security, or to become a paid subscriber. Most large-scale urban bike sharing programmes utilise numerous bike check-out stations, and operate much like public transit systems, catering to tourists and visitors as well as local residents.

To date, no publicly owned and administered bicycle sharing programme has yet been able to consistently operate as a self-funding enterprise, using only revenues generated from membership subscriptions or user fees and charges. As a consequence, most publicly owned bicycle sharing systems utilise funding from public governmental and/or charitable sources. Bike sharing schemes may be administered by government entities, nonprofit private organisations, or via public-private partnerships.

Many bicycle sharing schemes have been developed by a variety of organisations over the years, all based on one or more of the following systems:

In this type of programme the bicycles are simply released into a city or given area for use by anyone. In some cases, such as a university campus, the bicycles are only designated for use within certain boundaries. Users are expected to leave the bike unlocked in a public area once they reach their destination. Because the bike is not required to be returned to a centralised station, ready availability of such bicycles is rare, and since unlocked bikes may be taken by another user at any time, the original rider is forced to find alternative transport for the return trip. Bicycle sharing programs without locks, user identification, and security deposits have also historically suffered large loss rates from theft and vandalism.
Most of the latest systems use advanced information technologies (IT) for bicycle reservations, pick-up, drop-off, and information tracking.
A small cash deposit releases the bike from a locked terminal and can only be retrieved by returning it to another. Since the deposit (usually one or more coins) is a fraction of the bike's cost, this does little to deter theft. Other bike sharing programmes have implemented rules requiring the user to provide a valid credit card, along with substantial security deposits for bicycles and mandatory security locks.
In this version of the system, bicycles are kept either at volunteer-run hubs or at self-service terminals throughout the city. Individuals registered with the program identify themselves with their membership card (or by a smart card, via cell phone, or other methods) at any of the hubs to check out a bicycle for a short period of time, usually three hours or less. In many schemes the first half-hour is free. The individual is responsible for any damage or loss until the bike is returned to another hub and checked in.
Many of the membership-based systems are operated through public-private partnerships. Several European cities, including the French cities of Lyon and Paris as well as London, Barcelona, Stockholm and Oslo, have signed contracts with private advertising agencies (JCDecaux in Brussels, Lyon, Paris, Seville and Dublin; Clear Channel in Stockholm, Oslo, Barcelona, Perpignan and Zaragoza) which supply the city with thousands of bicycles free of charge (or for a minor fee). In return, the agencies are allowed to advertise both on the bikes themselves and in other select locations in the city. Some other programmes are not linked to an advertising deal (for example Smoove) and are financed as a part of public transportation scheme. These programmes attempt to reduce losses from theft by requiring users to purchase subscriptions with a credit card or debit card (this option requiring a large, temporary deposit) and by equipping the bike with complex anti-theft and bike maintenance sensors. If the bike is not returned within the subscription period, or returned with significant damage, the bike sharing operator withdraws money from the user's credit card account.
A system has been developed whereby a member need not return the bike to a kiosk; rather, the next user can find it by GPS.[11][12][13]

E-bike sharing is becoming more popular. The e-bikes are generally recharged upon parking them at their station.[14] E-bikes the range of the bikes and make cities with more difficult topographies more accessible.[15]

In 2009, Chiyu Chen proposed the Hybrid2-system which stores some of the pedal power on a (ultra)capacitor. Similar to vehicle-to-grid systems, the energy is then fed back to the mains electricity grid.[16]

Long-term checkout[edit]

Sometimes known as Bike Library models, these bicycles may be lent free of charge, for a refundable deposit, or for a small fee. A bicycle is checked out to one person who will typically keep the bike for several months, and is encouraged or obliged to lock it between uses. A disadvantage of this system is a lower usage frequency, around three uses per day on average as compared to 10 to 15 uses per day typically experienced with other bike-sharing schemes.

Advantages of long-term use include rider familiarity with the bicycle and a mode of travel that is always nearby and instantly ready for use. The bicycle can be checked out like a library book, a liability waiver can be collected at check-out, and the bike can be returned any time. A Library Bike in a person's possession can be chosen for some trips instead of a car, thus lowering car usage. The long-term rental system generally results in fewer repair costs to the scheme administrator, as riders are incentivised to obtain minor maintenance in order to keep the bike in running order during the long rental period. Most of the long-term systems implemented to date are funded solely through charitable donations of second-hand bicycles, using unpaid volunteer labour to maintain, and administer the bicycle fleet. While reducing or eliminating the need for public funding, such a scheme imposes an outer limit to program expansion. The Arcata Community Library Bike Program of Arcata, California has loaned over 4000 bicycles using this system.

Partnership with public transport sector[edit]

In a national-level programme that combines a typical rental system with several of the above system types, a passenger railway operator or infrastructure manager partners with a national cycling organisation and others to create a system closely connected with public transport. These programmes usually allow for a longer rental time of up to 24 or 48 hours, as well as tourists and round trips. In some German cities the national rail company offers a bike rental service called Call a Bike.

In Guangzhou in China, the widely praised bus rapid transit system, under a private operator, is combined with bike lanes and a public bike system with 50,000 bikes.[17]

In some cases, like Barclays Cycle Hire in London, the bicycle sharing system is owned by the public transport authority itself.

Partnership with car park operators[edit]

Some car park operators such as Vinci Park in France lend bikes to their customers who park a car.[18]

Partnership with car-share operations[edit]

City CarShare, a San Francisco-based non-profit, received a federal grant in 2012 to integrate electric bicycles within its existing carsharing fleet. The program is set to launch before the end of 2012 with 45 bikes.[19]


Bicycle station powered by solar panels

Many community-run bicycle programmes paint their bicycles in a strong solid colour, such as yellow or white. Painting the bicycles helps to advertise the programme, as well as deter theft (a painted-over bicycle frame is normally less desirable to a buyer). However, theft rates in many bike-sharing programmes remain high, as most shared-use bicycles have value only as basic transport, and may be resold to unsuspecting buyers after being cleaned and repainted. In response, some large-scale bike sharing programmes have designed their own bike using specialised frame designs and other parts to prevent disassembly and resale of stolen parts.

Another advantage of bike-sharing systems is that the smart-cards allow the bicycles to be returned to any station in the system, which facilitates one-way rides to work, education or shopping centres. Thus, one bike may take 10-15 rides a day with different users and can be ridden up to 10,000 km (6,200 mi) a year (citing Lyon, France). The distance between stations is only 300–400 metres (1,000–1,300 ft) in inner city areas.

It was found—in cities like Paris and Copenhagen—that to have a major impact there had to be a high density of available bikes. Copenhagen has 2500 bikes which cannot be used outside the 9 km2 (3.5 sq mi) zone of the city centre (a fine of DKr 1000 applies to any user taking bikes across the canal bridges around the periphery). Since Paris's Vélib' programme operates with an increasing fee past the free first half-hour, users have a strong disincentive to take the bicycles out of the city centre.


The Wuhan and Hangzhou Public Bicycle programs in China are the largest in the world, with around 90,000 and 60,000 bicycles respectively. In Hangzhou there are over 2,400 stations. The Vélib' in Paris, which comprises around 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 bicycle stations, is the largest outside of China. Barclays Cycle Hire in London has about 8,000 bikes, and New York City's Citi Bike has about 6,000.[1][2][2][20] As of May 2011, the countries with the most programs are France with 29, Spain (25), Italy (19), and China (19).[1]

As of July 2013, the systems with the higher market penetration are Velib' in Paris with 1 bike per 97 inhabitants, Vélo'v in Lyon with 1 bike per 121 residents, and Hangzou in China with 1 per 145. Barcelona's Bicing has 1 per 270, Montreal's Bixi has 1 per 300, London's Barclays Cycle Hire has 1 per 984, and New York City's Citi Bike has 1 per 8,336.[4]


Helsinki city bikes
BikeMi, Milan, Italy

European programs[edit]

The earliest well-known community bicycle programme was started in the summer of 1965[21] by Luud Schimmelpennink in association with the radical group Provo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.[22] This so-called White Bicycle Plan provided free bicycles that were supposed to be used for one trip and then left for someone else. Within a month, most of the bikes had been stolen and the rest were found in nearby canals.[23] The programme is still active in some parts of the Netherlands (the Hoge Veluwe National Park; bikes have to stay inside the park). It originally existed as one in a series of White Plans proposed in the street magazine produced by the anarchist group Provo.

Years later, Schimmelpennink admitted that "the Sixties experiment never existed in the way people believe" and that "no more than about ten bikes" had been put out on the street "as a suggestion of the bigger idea". As the police had temporarily confiscated all of the White Bicycles within a day of their release to the public, the White Bicycle experiment had actually lasted less than one month.[24]

In 1974 the French city of La Rochelle launched a free bike-sharing programme, Vélos Jaunes (Yellow Bikes), featuring unisex bicycles which were free to take and use. In terms of public usage and acceptance, it is regarded today as one of the first truly successful bike-sharing programmes. The programme continues today, albeit in modified form (rental charges apply after the first two hours, and personal identification is required for all bike rentals).

In 1993, a Green Bike Scheme bike sharing programme was initiated in Cambridge, United Kingdom, using a fleet of some 300 bicycles. The overwhelming majority of the fleet were stolen or missing within a year of the programme's introduction, and the Green Bike Scheme was abandoned.[25]

In an attempt to overcome losses from theft, the next innovation adopted by bike sharing programmes was the use of so-called 'smart technology'. One of the first 'smart bike' programmes was the Grippa™ bike storage rack system used in Portsmouth's Bikeabout scheme.[26][27][28] The Bikeabout scheme was launched in October 1995 by the University of Portsmouth, UK as part of its Green Transport Plan in an effort to cut car travel by staff and students between campus sites.[27] Funded in part by the EU's ENTRANCE[29] programme, the Bikeabout scheme was a "smart card" fully automated system.[27][28][30] For a small fee, users were issued 'smart cards' with magnetic stripes to be swiped through an electronic card reader at a covered 'bike store' kiosk, unlocking the bike from its storage rack.[27] CCTV camera surveillance was installed at all bike stations in an effort to limit vandalism.[27] Upon arriving at the destination station, the smart card was used to open a cycle rack and record the bike's safe return.[27] A charge was automatically registered on the user's card if the bike was returned with damage or if the time exceeded the three-hour maximum.[27] Implemented with an original budget of approximately £200,000, the Portsmouth Bikeabout scheme was never very successful in terms of rider usage,[31] in part due to the limited number of bike kiosks and hours of operation.[27][30] Seasonal weather restrictions and concerns over unjustified charges for bike damage also imposed barriers to usage.[27] The Bikeabout program was discontinued by the University in 1998 in favour of expanded minibus service; the total costs of the Bikeabout programme were never disclosed.[32][33]

Following the previous bike-sharing systems, the first next generation bike-sharing system, was introduced in 1991 in Farsø.[34] Even though it was a small-scale scheme, it paved the way for the Copenhagen's ByCyklen programme, which was introduced in 1995 and was the first large-scale urban bike-sharing programme to feature specially designed bicycles with parts which could not be used on other bikes. To obtain a bicycle, riders paid a refundable deposit at one of 110 special locking bike stands, and the riders then had unlimited use of the bike within a specified 'city bike zone'.[35] The fine for not returning a bicycle or leaving the bike-sharing zone exceeded US$150, and was strictly enforced by the police. Originally, the programme's founders hoped to completely finance the programme by selling advertising space on the bicycles, which was placed on the bike's frame and its solid disc-type wheels. This funding source quickly proved to be insufficient, and the city of Copenhagen took over the administration of the programme, funding most of the programme costs through appropriations from city revenues along with contributions from corporate donors. Since the City Bikes programme was free to the user, there is no return on the capital invested by the municipality, and a considerable amount of public funds was constantly used to keep the system in service, to enforce regulations, and to replace missing bikes. In 2013 a new version was expected to be introduced but the municipality of Copenhagen temporarily withdrew its support and there were no free bicycles for most of 2013.[36][37][38] Copenhagen municipality changed its mind and a new version was introduced in late 2013.[39]

In September 1997, another Grippa™ rack-based public share system was established as a pilot project in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, for the use of commuters, but was terminated the following year due to poorly functioning electronic bike racks.[28]

CityBikes of Helsinki, Finland used a similar pay-through-advertising scheme adopted by Copenhagen's ByCylken, with distinctive yellow-green bicycles available at over 26 stands for a €2 deposit, refundable at any other stand. While this model of financing free community bike sharing programme has since spread to other cities, a lack of advertisers combined with constraints on public funding assistance resulted in a projected deficit of over EUR 1 million for Helsinki CityBikes. In both Copenhagen and Helsinki, vandalism continued to be a major aggravating factor in programme costs, requiring continual replacement of unrepairable bicycles at a cost of nearly 400 euros each. Because of these issues, Helsinki CityBikes terminated operations in 2010.

A disadvantage of municipal bike sharing programmes as implemented by Copenhagen and Helsinki has been the significant additional costs imposed due to bicycle theft and vandalism, resulting in additional law enforcement monitoring and more frequent bike repair/replacement. Because bikes in traditional municipal deposit programmes are not tracked and hirers are not traceable, theft deterrence is often designed into the bikes: very heavy, single-speed machines with proprietary components and undesirable paint schemes.

In 2001, the not-for-profit organisation BiCyBa released White Bicycles into public use in Bratislava, Slovakia. During the next three months all the bikes were stolen or destroyed, and the project was cancelled.

North American programs[edit]

United States programs[edit]

One of the first community bicycle projects in the United States was started in Portland, Oregon in 1994 by civic and environmental activists Tom O'Keefe, Joe Keating and Steve Gunther. It took the approach of simply releasing a number of bicycles to the streets for unrestricted use. While Portland's Yellow Bike Project was successful in terms of publicity, it proved unsustainable due to theft and vandalism of the bicycles. The Yellow Bike Project was eventually terminated, and replaced with the Create A Commuter (CAC) program, which provides free secondhand bicycles to certain preselected low-income and disadvantaged people who need a bicycle to get to work or attend job training courses.[40] Since 1994, many community projects around the country have attempted programs similar in nature to the Yellow Bike Project, most of which have since been abandoned.

Citi Bike opened in New York City in May 2013 and is the largest bike sharing program in the U.S.
Social Bicycles, in Hoboken, New Jersey

In 1996, a pilot bicycle share project known as the Orange Bike Project was organised in Tucson, Arizona by Bootstraps to Share, a homeless advocacy organisation inspired by the Bikes Not Bombs movement.[41] Using funds from a taxpayer-funded government grant to obtain, recondition, and maintain 30 bicycles, project organisers announced plans to station the bicycles in downtown Tucson and areas adjacent to the University of Arizona.[41] The publicly shared bicycles, painted bright orange by Earl Scheib to identify them, were primarily intended for use by the homeless or those without means of affordable transportation.[41] The initial 30 bicycles placed into service for the Orange Bike Project were all stolen within a few weeks.[42] A total of 80 bicycles were eventually used in the Orange Bike Project, all of which were either stolen or vandalised beyond repair.[42] In one case, an Orange Bike Project bicycle was thrown in front of a freight train, in others, bikes were found with major frame damage consistent with deliberate vandalism.[42] The program was terminated after only five months of operation.[41][42]

In 1996, Madison, Wisconsin, instituted its Red Bikes Project, a public bike sharing program. These red-painted bicycles were available for the use of the general public, primarily in the student areas of State Street between the University of Wisconsin campus and the Wisconsin State Capitol. Initially, the only rule regarding the use of a Red Bikes Project bicycle was that it was required to remain outside and unlocked, and thus available for any passerby. After a surge in bicycle thefts and vandalism, the program was modified to require a valid credit card and $80 in security deposits for both the bicycle and the now-mandatory bicycle lock.[43] The program is now only available seasonally, from spring (when all snow has melted) to 30 November.[44]

In 2007, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Director of Bicycle Programs, Nicole Freedman, decided to bring bike sharing to the Boston area. However, they knew that in order for it to truly transform the way people travel and experience the city, it would have to span municipal boundaries. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the regional planning agency for the metro-Boston region of 101 cities and towns, joined the effort to operate a bike share in the Boston region. Along the way Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville committed to bring this initiative to their communities as well. In 2011, the metropolitan area of Boston launched its 60-station, 600-bike Hubway system, sponsored by the shoe manufacturer New Balance and funded in part by a $3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, the contract to operate was awarded to Alta Bicycle Share. Bicycle-sharing arrived in Boston with a mix of excitement and skepticism, but was an immediate success, recording 100,000 station-to-station rides in its first two and a half months. After recording 140,000 trips in four months, Boston’s European-style bicycle-sharing system expanded outside of city limits, planting stations across Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline. Hubway now has over 100 stations throughout the Greater Boston area.

Solar powered Boulder B-cycle station with double sided docks.

In 2007, Bikes Belong, an advocacy group financed by major bicycle manufacturers, worked with city officials, local advocates, and the healthcare firm Humana to bring bikesharing to both the Republican and Democratic 2008 conventions. Called "Freewheelin!" the program offered 1,000 bicycles at 12 stations throughout the downtowns of the host cities, Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul, over the five days of each convention. Bikes Belong's stated goal was to provide a proof-of-concept that large-scale bicycle sharing that was exploding in European cities could work in U.S. cities and provide a valuable addition to the transportation mix. The program was popular among conventioneers, and helped the city of Denver to create a narrative around the "green" attributes of the convention. Both Denver and Minneapolis successfully pursued permanent bikesharing systems, with Denver B-cycle launching on April 22, 2010 as the first of its scale in the U.S., followed by Minneapolis' NiceRide system launching on June 10, 2010.

In Washington, D.C., a privately operated bike sharing project known as SmartBike DC opened for service in 2008 for the District of Columbia. Operated by a private advertising firm, Clear Channel Communications, SmartBike DC's annual operating costs were ostensibly funded by providing Clear Channel with prime advertising space at city bus shelters and other venues along with revenues from user subscription fees and charges.[45] However, the program suffered from perennially low membership and rider usage rates, as well as a limited number of bike rental stations.[46] After D.C. officials and Clear Channel failed to reach an agreement over expanded service, the program was officially terminated in January 2011.[47]

In 2010, the District of Columbia launched a new system, Capital Bikeshare, this time funded and operated by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). This system was the largest bikeshare program in the United States until May 2013, with over 200 stations and annual ridership of more than two million.[48] The system has expanded into the inner suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia, with planned expansion into the Maryland suburbs. On April 22, 2013, Fort Worth Bike Sharing, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, launched a B-cycle system consisting of 300 bikes and 30 stations serving Downtown, Near Southside, and Cultural District in Fort Worth, Texas.[49][50] Fort Worth B-cycle is included in a program called B-connected which allows members of over 15 participating B-cycle cities to use their annual memberships for free in other cities.[51] Citi Bike opened in New York City in May 2013, with 6,000 bicycles and 330 docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. As of June 2013 Citi Bike is the largest bike sharing program in the United States.[52]

In August 2013 the Bay Area Bike Share system began operating in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. The system allocated half of its 700 bicycle fleet in San Francisco, and the rest along the Caltrain corridor in Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose.[53]

In May 2014, over 40 bicycles were stolen from Baltimore Recreation and Parks department's bike-share program. The bikes were stolen during the city's Ride Around Reservoir program in Druid Hill Park. The bikes were set up to be lent out when a group of youths took them. The cost of replacing the stolen bikes is "thousands of dollars" and is devastating to the program, which operates completely on donations.[54][55]

Canadian programs[edit]

Bixi Montreal, Canada

Canada's largest bike share system is the Bixi system. Started in Montreal in May 2009 as Bixi Montreal, it has expanded to over 5000 bicycles at 450 stations.[56] In June 2009 the design was expanded to Ottawa/Gatineau as Capital Bixi. In May 2011 Bixi Toronto opened, using now-standard Bixi equipment. The system has since been used in popular bike share programs such as Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare.

From 2001 to 2006, BikeShare, operated by the Community Bicycle Network (CBN) in Toronto, was for a time the most popular community bicycle sharing program in North America. Its initial success inspired launches of large-scale bike sharing programs such as Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare and Montreal's Bixi. BikeShare was intended to overcome some of the theft issues by requiring yearly memberships to sign out any of the 150 refurbished yellow bikes locked up at 16 hubs throughout central Toronto. At its height, over 400 members could sign out a bike from any hub for up to three days. The hubs were located at stores, cafes and community centres where the staff would volunteer their time to sign bikes out and in.[57] Despite steadily increasing administrative, implementation, and maintenance costs, CBN could only charge users around 20 percent of actual costs, as users were unlikely to spend more than $50 per year for a membership. Without sufficient funds in the form of private and government grants, CBN was forced to discontinue BikeShare in 2006.[58]

From 2005 to 2008, a largely unregulated bike sharing program was operated by the Peoples' Pedal organisation in Edmonton, Alberta. The program suffered from high theft and vandalism rates, with 95% of the bikes that had been placed into service stolen or missing by 2008.[59] The program was terminated the same year.

Current bicycle sharing systems around the world[edit]


Copenhagen had a free bike scheme called City Bikes, paid by advertising on the bikes. Following the abolishment Copenhagen is now one of few European capitals without a public bike scheme as well as one of Denmark's city tourist destinations without a public bike scheme; the smaller cities of Aalborg, Aarhus, Frederikshavn, Hjørring and Odense all have public bike schemes available for hire.

In France, the advertising company JCDecaux has launched its "Cyclocity" programs in Paris, Lyon, Brisbane, Córdoba, Vienna and Kazan. Here hundreds of bikes are made available for hire from special, widely dispersed bicycle stands. Payment for using the bikes is done with special smart cards.

With financial aid from Barclays, Transport for London has launched a Cycle Hire scheme in London, where hire under 30 minutes is free from special bicycle stands across the city. (after a daily, monthly or annual charge has been paid)[60]

Competitor Clear Channel then operating as Adshel opened the first example of this in Rennes in 1997, and has several other sites including Oslo, Stockholm, Sandnes & Trondheim, most generally similar to that offered by their competitor.

A different financial model called bicing is used in Barcelona, which is paid for by car owners parking on public streets and not by advertising - which rather ironically is contracted to JC Decaux in some places.[61]


Velib' bicycle station in Paris

In September 2009 Dublin launched a bike-share scheme known as dublinbikes operated by JCDecaux. It is considered one of the most successful bike sharing schemes in the world. With an initial 450 bicycles, the plan reached 1 million uses in less than a year.[62] As of June 2013 the scheme has had fewer than 12 bikes stolen or damaged[63]


French cities offering a sharing system include Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nice, Toulouse, Rennes, La Rochelle, Orléans, Montpellier, Nantes, Lille, Strasbourg, Clermont-Ferrand, Avignon, Saint-Étienne, Chalon sur Saône, Belfort, Aix-en-Provence...

The launch of Velo'v in Lyon, France in 2005 was an effort to improve on the disappointing performance of the traditional municipal public bike-sharing model. In an attempt to improve upon the results of the discontinued Bikeabout program at the University of Portsmouth, Velo'v utilised more sophisticated "smart" technology to reduce losses from theft, user damage, and vandalism. Considered to be a city less than friendly to cyclists prior to 2005, the Velo'v programme is credited with stimulating an increase of 500% in bicycle trips within the city, a quarter of which were due to the bike sharing system.[64][65] Velo'v introduced a number of innovations that were later copied by Paris's Vélib' and most other municipal bike-sharing programmes, including the use of electronic locks, smart cards, telecommunication systems, and onboard computers.

The Vélomagg' project, launched in June 2007, was the first one not linked to an advertising company but to the city public transportation scheme. The electronic being on the bicycle, light station management allows for touristic and events related deployment. It comprises 750 bicycles in 59 stations.

A resurgence in bike sharing programmes is attributed by many to the launching in 2007 of Paris's Vélib', a network of 20,000 specially designed bicycles distributed among 1450 stations throughout Paris. Vélib’, inspired by Lyon's seminal Vélo'v project, is now considered the second largest bike-sharing system of its kind in the world. While the Vélib’ program may be considered a success in terms of rider usage (daily use averages between 50,000 to 150,000 trips), a staggering 80 percent of the original 20,600 bicycles have been destroyed or stolen.[66] Some Vélib’ cycles have been found in Eastern Europe and North Africa, while others have been dumped in the Seine River, hung from lampposts, or abandoned on the roadside in various states of disrepair, forcing the City of Paris to reimburse the programme operator an estimated $2 million per year for excess costs under its contractual agreement.[67]


Germany has bike-sharing programmes in many cities, including Aachen, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg (StadtRAD Hamburg), Karlsruhe, Kassel (Konrad), Mainz (MVGmeinRad), Munich and Stuttgart. Bike-sharing stations are also located in over 50 ICE railway stations.[68][69]


The Netherlands: OV-fiets 2009

The Netherlands has a single, successful, nationwide bike sharing program.[70] It's called "OV-fiets", which means 'public transport bike'. 6000 bikes in 230 locations, mainly train stations, all over the country. Membership is required and can be combined with public transport card. The program, which started on a small scale in 2003, has enjoyed a steadily increasing popularity with over 1 million rides registered in 2011. The nature of the Dutch bike sharing program differs from that of programs in other countries partly because the already high bike ownership of the population. Its interconnection with the public transport network allows it to fill the need of people who also want to continue traveling by bike from the station of their destination.


Since the demise of CityBikes in 2010, HKL is negotiating with JCDecaux Finland for a new bike share system to include 500 bikes and 34 stands in the downtown Helsinki, modeled after the Paris Velib program, with part of the program costs to be paid by commercial businesses in exchange for 45 double-sided advertisement boards inside the city centre.[71] A competition of branding and name of the system took place in early 2012.[72]


There are bike-sharing programmes in Kraków, Opole, Poznań, Sopot, Rzeszów, Warsaw (biggest in Poland - 173 stations; 2600 bikes), and Wrocław.


The Stockholm City Bikes system has more than 100 stands and 2000 bikes, functioning from April to October.

In Göteborg, the bike sharing system is known as: Styr & Ställ, it was launched in August 2010 and has been very successful. The system has 60 stations and 1 000 bikes. Styr & Ställ works as a great complement to the public transportation in Göteborg


The bike sharing systems in Spain are considerend among the most innovative systems in the world due to the pioneer management, the massive hosting and the internationalization. The biggest bicycle sharing systems are found in Barcelona (bicing), Madrid (biciMAD), Seville (Sevici), Valencia (Valenbisi), Saragossa (bizi), Alacant, Bilbao, Albacete, Burgos, La Coruña, Salamanca, Santander, Valladolid, Girona, Ferrol, Aranjuez, etc.


A station in Lausanne (Switzerland).

Switzerland possesses a bicycle sharing system managed by Publibike. The network comprises about one hundred stations throughout the country.[73]

It includes nine stations on the Lausanne campus.[74]

United Kingdom[edit]

Barclays Cycle Hire, London, UK started in 2010

Following the failure of the University of Portsmouth's Bikeabout programme in 1998, the introduction of new bicycle share systems proceeded more slowly in the United Kingdom than in the rest of Europe. Outside of London (see below), the largest is the hire-a-bike operation in Blackpool, operated by Hourbike,[75] with 60 stations and 500 bikes in the scheme. This scheme uses both RFID membership cards and instant point of sale memberships to cater for both residential users and the very many visitors that go to the resort every year. Hourbike also has schemes in Lincoln,Reading,Liverpool,Nottingham and Southport in England as well as Dumfries, Scotland.

Some bike-sharing schemes now use mobile phones to reserve or sign out bikes. In the UK, OYBike is delivered small-scale operations at 2 Universities, 3 Business Parks, 3 London Boroughs, and a private hotel chain in London until 2011. Like Munich's Call-a-Bike, OYBike used mobile phone technology to log use and charge for hires and can set up hire points in as little as 10 minutes. Many of the business users can reclaim the cost of leasing bikes and hire points as part of a workplace cycling scheme or green travel plan. Research also reveals that for many major London railway stations an unknown number of the bikes parked are used only a couple of times per week, while the option of replacing these with publicly shared (hire) bikes has rarely been considered by UK rail administrators.

London mayor Ken Livingstone promised that an extensive bicycle sharing system modelled on the Paris Vélib' system would be introduced in London during his final term in office.[76] The system is sponsored by Barclays Bank, and known as Barclays Cycle Hire (BCH). BCH is located mainly within the central zone, roughly bounded by the 'Zone 1' area of the Transport for London zoning system, and will comprise 400 docking stations when complete, at roughly 300 metre intervals.[77] BCH initial planning and implementation costs are expected to total more than £140 million over the first six years of the project, exclusive of operating costs. The program commenced operations on 30 June 2010. BCH has received some criticism for its use of commercial advertising and use of communal docking stations, as well as erroneous charges, bicycle and docking station issues, and lack of coverage for the suburbs.[78][79][80][81][82][83] Some users have also found the bikes too heavy and unwieldy, at 23 kilograms (51 lb).[84][85] Due to the current mayor Boris Johnson's publicity of the system the bikes have become known as 'Boris Bikes' despite their sponsored name.


The first and only automated bicycle rental for public use that has been implemented in a Greek town to the present day is that of Corfu, the capital of the Ionian Islands. It was installed and started the pilot operation in the middle of November 2010. It operates under the auspices of the Municipality of Corfu. The program is called EasyBike, is fully automated and includes one hundred bicycles which are distributed in eight rental stations all over town. The method of operation is similar to other such systems in Europe. Residents can obtain from the Municipality a special electronic subscriber card, which gives them access to bicycles and occasional users and visitors can use their credit card at the rental stations to receive a bicycle.[86] The system also gives the ability to occasional users to obtain a code and gain access to bicycles through an IVR automated system by using their credit card. EasyBike bike sharing system is developed by Brainbox under a Smoove license, which is the first Greek company to implement a bike sharing project in Greece[87]

In Greece there are also other programmes similar to bicycle sharing systems, which however are not automated. The first, running from early 2010, is in the northern suburb of Nea Erithréa, in Attica, while the second is that of the Municipality of Nafpaktos, which operates from mid June 2010. In these programmes the residents rent the bike directly from the municipality. Specifically, in the programme implemented in Nea Erithréa bicycles are rented for one week to six months, on condition that the person concerned must submit to the Municipality the sum of 75 euros as a guarantee. In Nafpaktos, bicycles are rented for up to two months for free.[88] In 2011, the municipality of Heraklion in Crete purchased 100 bicycles from the bike-sharing company Brainbox, the developer of EasyBike[89] system while free distribution of bicycles from the municipality had already started from April 2010.[90]

The latest non-automated system to be introduced in Greece (May 2012) is that of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in Salonica, Northern Greece. It presents 60 public bikes available for the University community to move around town. The system has no electronic rental stations and the delivery and return of the bikes is made by students working part-time in the project.[91] The system is developed and supported by Cyclopolis, a Greek bike sharing systems company.


The EBI in Esztergom, Hungary

The first public bicycle sharing service in Hungary was implemented in the city of Esztergom on September 20, 2013. The Esztergom Bicycle or EBI was developed by Neuzer, a local bicycle manufacturing company.[92] The system currently operates with 93 bikes and 9 docking stations,[93] but once the second stage of the implementation is finished, it will have 10 stations with 100 bikes.[94]

The country's second communal bike sharing system in Hévíz was also developed by Neuzer. It was functional since June 2014.

The BuBi system with 76 docks and 1,100 bicycles is scheduled to open in 2014 in Budapest.[95]


Public bicycles in Nicosia, Cyprus

Bike in Action is the latest transport system for the greater Nicosia area, similar to programmes employed successfully in various cities of Cyprus. Bicycles can be found at stations in all participating municipalities (Agios Dometios, Aglandjia, Dali, Engomi, Latsia, Pallouriotissa, Strovolos) and returned after their use at any station. Bike in Action includes more than 310 bikes distributed in 27 full automated Smoove stations which cover the wide Nicosia area. All the rental stations are connected with the banking system and access to the bikes can be obtained with the use of a credit card.[96] According to the planning of Inter-municipal Bicycle Company of Nicosia on June 2012 bikes will also be available to citizens with a prepaid electronic card.


VeloBike bicycles in Moscow, September 2013

Automated public bicycle sharing services in Russia operate in Moscow and in Kazan. In Moscow the system called VeloBike was started by Bank of Moscow on the 1st of July 2013 and was totally replaced on 9 June 2014[97] by another system, now financed as well by Sberbank. It is compatible with Troika, the Moscow public transportation system and accessible to occasional users as well.

In Kazan the Veli’k bicycle sharing system was also launched on July 1, 2013 by the Russian outdoor advertising company Russ Outdoor. The system includes 7 self-service bicycle docking stations distributed throughout the centre of Kazan near the most popular city destinations, and 100 bikes. The service is open to everyone from 16 years of age. To access the service, you have to complete a simple sign-up procedure at, and buy a subscription for a suitable period of time. The first 30 minutes of every journey is free of charge. After the first half hour, a service charge applies.

North America[edit]


In Canada, Bixi Montreal became North America's largest bike-sharing system in May 2009. Montreal began a limited pilot project of Bixi bike-sharing bicycles in fall 2008.[98] Bixi is a publicly funded bike share scheme, designed to encourage locals and tourists to make use of the city's already well-established network of bike paths.[99] The rental bicycles, costing some $2,000 each, are available from depots located throughout the city, where bikes can be rented from automated stations using a credit card.[100] Users must purchase a daily, monthly, or annual subscription, as well as pay additional usage fees for trips lasting longer than 30 minutes. A hold of $250 per bike is validated on the user's credit card upon a request for a subscription, and is kept 3 to 10 working days. The system was expanded twice during 2009, with 5000 bicycles available at 400 depots.[101] Although initial programme costs were $15 million for planning and implementation of the Bixi project, subsequent additional costs incurred in expanding the program have driven costs upwards of $23 million.[102][103] In 2008 the Bixi program was ranked by Time Magazine as the 19th best invention in their 50 Best Inventions of 2008.[104][105]

United States[edit]

In the United States, bicycle share programs have largely centered around major cities and universities.

Zotwheels Bike Share at the University of California Irvine

California: In California, many cities have launched or have stated plans to launch their own bike-sharing programs, including the cities of Anaheim (currently 10 bikes at 1 station, with plans for 100 bikes at 10 stations),[106] Los Angeles (plans for 4000 bikes at 400 stations),[107] Santa Monica (plans for 250 bikes at 25 locations),[108] and San Diego[109] The San Francisco Bay Area's Bay Area Air Quality Management District, in partnership with Alta Bike Share, city governments, and transportation authorities, have announced plans for a pilot regional sharing program in 2013 for the San Francisco Peninsula and San Jose, the first such regional sharing program in the US.[110][111]

Irvine, CA: In the Fall of 2009, the University of California, Irvine introduced its Zotwheels automated bike share program. Students and university employees may sign up for a Zotwheels membership card at an annual cost of $40, which enables the user to check out a bike from any bike station located throughout campus for a maximum of three hours and drop it off at any other station. A $200 charge is imposed for a lost, stolen, or severely damaged bike. Bicycle availability and station operational status may be determined using an interactive map. Revenues from membership fees are sufficient to offset only a small fraction of the total operating costs of the program; all remaining manufacture, installation, maintenance, and implementation costs of the Zotwheels systems and the bicycles themselves are borne by UCI.[112] Zotwheels was developed as a collaboration between the UCI Parking and Transportation Services, The Collegiate Bicycle Company, CSL Ltd, and Miles Data Technologies.

Boulder, CO: In May 2011, the city of Boulder, CO launched a bicycle sharing system, Boulder B-Cycle, with 100 bicycles and 15 stations. This system, like many in Northern latitude cities, closes down during winter months to help preserve the life of the equipment.

Denver, CO: On April 22, 2010, Denver became the first U.S. city with a large-scale smart-technology enabled bicycle sharing system with the launch of Denver B-cycle. The system launched with 45 stations and 450 bicycles throughout downtown, downtown-adjacent neighborhoods, and on higher-education campuses. Denver B-cycle's roots came from the "Freewheelin" bikesharing program which operated for 6 days during the 2008 DNC convention in Denver. In Denver, several B-cycle rental stations are located at RTD Light Rail Platforms. The Denver B-cycle program varies in cost depending on use. Fees range from $8 per day to $80 per year.

Washington, D.C.: In September 2010 the city of Washington, D.C. introduced its replacement forSmartBike DC, called Capital Bikeshare (CaBi). Unlike SmartBike, CaBi is a public taxpayer-supported bicycle sharing program involving both the District of Columbia and Arlington County. The initial scheme involved some 1,100 bicycles at 100 stations located throughout the District of Columbia and parts of Arlington County, Virginia. The cost of planning, implementation and administration for Capital Bikeshare totaled US$5.0 million, with first-year operating costs of $US2.3 million for 100 stations.[113] The District's share of planning, implementation and first-year operating costs was partially financed by a US$6.0 million grant by the United States Department of Transportation. Arlington County's operating cost share of the plan was US$835,000 for the first year,[114] funded by public contributions including a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation as well as subsidies from Arlington County Transportation, Crystal City (Arlington) Business Improvement District, and the Potomac Yard Transportation Management Association.[115] In November 2010, Capital Bikeshare Director Chris Holben stated that administrators were hoping for future project revenues that would reach 50% of annual operating costs, exclusive of planning and implementation expenses.[116] CaBi recently announced plans to expand services with an additional 20 bike stations by spring of 2011. For a time, Capital Bike Share was the largest bike sharing system in the United States. However, New York city's Citi Bike program (started in May 2013) is far larger.

Broward County, FL: Also in the Miami Metropolitan Area, Broward B-Cycle launched in December 2011 as the country's first county-wide bike share program, with 200 bikes and 20 stations located in several cities within Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale. This system was funded through a Public-Private Partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation providing a $311,000 grant through Broward County, and B-Cycle's sponsors providing the remainder of the initial capital and operating costs.[117]

Miami Beach, FL: In March 2011, DecoBike launched in Miami Beach, Florida.[118] The initial rollout of the program included "approximately 100 solar-powered stations and 1,000 custom-designed bikes available to residents and visitors."[119] This public bicycle sharing and rental program is owned and operated by DecoBike, LLC, a Miami-based company, and operates under a long-term agreement with the City of Miami Beach. The service is available to both residents and visitors: any adult with a major credit card can check out a bike to pedal to their next location. An iPhone app and an interactive map on the DecoBike website allows one to locate the nearest "station" and displays the number of bikes available and the number of free docking spaces in real-time.

Chicago, IL: On June 28, 2013 Chicago launched Divvy, a bike share system with 750 bikes at 75 stations, with a planned increase to 4000 bikes at 400 stations by Spring 2014.[120]

Indianapolis, IN: In May 2014, Indianapolis launched the bike share program called Indiana Pacers Bikeshare with 25 stations and 250 bikes.[121]

Salem, MA: In 2011, the city of Salem, Massachusetts launched a bike share program called Salem Spins offering use of bicycles free of charge, for use around the city. The seasonal program was financed in part with a $25,000 grant for a fleet of 20 bicycles.[122] The program is offered from April to October.

Boston, MA: On July 28, 2011, the city of Boston, Massachusetts launched its 60-station, 600-bike Hubway system, sponsored by the shoe manufacturer New Balance and funded in part by a $3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, the contract to operate was awarded to Alta Bicycle Share. Bicycle-sharing arrived in Boston in July, greeted with a mix of excitement and skepticism. In its first 2 1/2 months, Hubway recorded 100,000 station-to-station rides, significantly eclipsing the pace of similar systems in Minneapolis (where Nice Ride needed six months to reach that mark) and Denver (where B-cycle needed 7 1/2 months).[123] After recording 140,000 trips in four months, Boston’s European-style bicycle-sharing system expanded outside of city limits, planting stations across Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline. Hubway now has over 100 stations throughout the Greater Boston area.

Honolulu, HI: The City and County of Honolulu supported Bikeshare passing Bikeshare Resolution 14-35 on March 14, 2014. The extensive bikeshare program envisioned for Honolulu includes an impressive network installation of 180 bicycle docking stations containing a total of at 1,700 program owned bikes. The stations will extend from China Town to Waikiki. The program is aimed to begin summer 2015. Additionally, there is currently a small pilot program in Kailua (Honolulu County) with 2 stations.

Minneapolis, MN: In June 2010, Minneapolis, MN initiated operation of Nice Ride, one of the first examples of a large-scale municipal bike sharing program in the US. Phase 1 included 700 bikes and 65 stations throughout Minneapolis[124] Due to popularity, the system was aggressively expanded into neighboring Saint Paul in 2011. As of April 29, 2012, Nice Ride had recorded a total of 330,000 trips, and a systemwide total of 1,330 bikes at 146 stations[125]

Kansas City, MO: In 2012, Kansas City, Missouri launched Kansas City B-cycle in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield.[126] The system currently has 12 stations and 90 bicycles[127]

New York, NY: On Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, New York City started its privately funded Citi Bike program, the nation's largest. It began with 6,000 bikes at 330 docking stations in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. It wants to expand it to 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations in Manhattan, all of Brooklyn and Queens. By May 29, in its third day of operation, the program had 21,300 individuals signed on as annual members.[128]

New Paltz, NY: The village of New Paltz, New York, home of SUNY New Paltz, has a bicycle lending program.[citation needed]

Columbus, OH: On July 30, 2013 CoGo Bike Share started. It opened with 300 bikes and 30 docking stations in downtown and surrounding areas.

Charleston, SC: In August 2013 the College of Charleston's Office of Sustainability began a bike sharing program.[129] This program's 8 bicycles are currently free to use for all full-time students, faculty, and staff members.[130] While small in scale, during its first year of operation the program has so far seen over 700 uses, a number which is expected to more than double in its second year as the number of available bicycles increases and rental hours expand.

Salt Lake City, UT: On April 8, 2013, Salt Lake City launched GREENbike as the region's Bike Share brand. The program launched in downtown Salt Lake City with 10 stations and added two new stations less than four months later. The program will be expanding to 20 stations by 2014 with the goal of 100 stations in downtown Salt Lake City. Satellite GREENbike systems in cities such as Ogden are in the works and will be connected by the state transit authority's Frontrunner light rail train.

GREENbike is a 501(c)3 non-profit and it's board consists of Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City Transportation Director Robin Hutcheson, Utah Transit Authority's Chief Planning Officer, Matt Sibul, Downtown Alliance Executive Director, Jason Mathis, Wasatch Front Regional Council Deputy Director, Ted Knowlton, CEO & President of Visit Salt Lake, Scott Beck, City Creek/Taubman Marketing Director, Dee Brewer and TWIO Brand Manager, Bill Cutting. GREENbike's Board Chair is Timothy Harpst, Senior Engineer Horrocks Engineers and is the former Director of Salt Lake City's Transportation Division.

GREENbike's strategic partners include, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City Redevlopment Agency, The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Alliance, Utah Transit Authority, Wasatch Front Regional Council and Visit Salt Lake. Health Insurance company, SelectHealth is GREENbike's Title Sponsor.


EcoBici bicycles in Mexico City

In February 2010 the government of Mexico City inaugurated a new bicycle sharing network called EcoBici.[131] With distinctive red and white liveried bicycles, the network as of September 2013 consists of 276 stations with 4,000 bicycles.[132] The system is run by a private company, Clear Channel, but[133] funded by the government with an initial investment of 75 million pesos. Users of the system are required to purchase an RFID card at a cost of 300 pesos which will provide them with access to the bicycles for one year. Use of a bicycle is free for the first 45 minutes; extra charges are applied for use beyond this time limit. From September 2012 through December 2012, the system will expand from an area covering 6.8 square kilometres to one covering 21 square kilometres, with an increase on the estimated number of users from 30,000 to 100,000.[134] This would make the system the seventh largest in the world behind (not in order): Hangzhou, Paris, Montreal, Barcelona, Lyon and London.[135]

South America[edit]

Bike Rio rental station located near Posto 9, Ipanema, in Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil.


The bike sharing system is free upon registration and has 1250 bicycles available at 41 rental stations throughout Buenos Aires, since 2010. The system was deployed by the City of Buenos Aires. As of 2012, the city has constructed 70 km (43.50 mi) of protected bicycle lanes and has plans to construct another 100 km (62.14 mi).[136]


Bike Rio opened to the public in October 2011. The bike sharing system has 600 bicycles available at 60 rental stations located in 14 neighbourhoods throughout Rio de Janeiro. The system was deployed by the municipal government of Rio de Janeiro in partnership with Banco Itaú, and operated by Serttel, a private concessionaire.[137]

A similar scheme was implemented in the city of São Paulo on May 24, 2012, called Bike Sampa. It is free up to 30 minutes of use, after which users are charged R$5 every 30 minutes.[138] There are about 140,000 registered users and, as of May 6, 2013, there had been 220,000 bicycle trips in the city. Serttel is also the concessionaire for this scheme, and the website of Bike Sampa is hosted by Mobilicidade.


The EnCicla[139] Bike Share System in Medellín is the result of an agreement between the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Aburrá and the EAFIT University. EnCicla is integrated with the city's existing infrastructure of cycle routes, mass transit and public transport systems. EnCicla is available from Monday to Friday from 5.30 am to 8 pm from every EnCicla station.


Bici Q station in Quito, Ecuador

In August 2012 the Municipality of Quito government established a municipal bicycle sharing system called Bici Q.[140][141][142] The Municipality of Cuenca announced that it will implement a public Bicycle Sharing System in the year 2013.[143][144] Bici Q is completely free and is available for anyone to use, including tourists, if they have membership cards.[145] Application for membership cards can be done online or in person.[146]




Bike-sharing has also become popular in China. The Hangzhou bike-sharing system has 60,600 bikes, surpassing Paris's Vélib programme which offers over 20,000 bikes. Bike-sharing stations can be found in Hangzhou every 100 metres compared to the 300 metres in Paris. The first hour of use is free, followed by 1 yuan ($0.15) for the first hour, 2 yuan the second hour, and 3 yuan each subsequent hour. During the first year of operation, not a single bike was stolen and very few were damaged or vandalised compared to the half that were stolen or damaged in Paris.[147][dubious ] A March 2010 survey of Hangzhou Public Bicycle members and non-members was implemented in order to examine the impacts of this service on travel behaviour and to gain an early understanding of adoption and behavioural response. The study found that 30% of Hangzhou bikeshare users incorporated bikesharing into their most common commute. Furthermore, the bikeshare system captured modal share from bus transit, walking, autos and taxis. Another key finding in this study suggests that car ownership may not reduce the likelihood of bikesharing use. In fact, members of the Hangzhou system exhibited a higher rate of auto ownership in comparison to non-members.[148]


In preparation for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China, Shanghai launched a limited bike share programme which are accessible by RFID cards. Users can purchase 100-ride credits for about $30. Short rides are rewarded credits and longer rides subtract credits once the bikes have been re-docked. Shanghai planned to expand to 3,500 Bicycle Hot Spots throughout the entire city by 2010.

Two years after the World Expo, Shanghai's bicycle sharing programme has been mostly limited to the Minhang district.[149][150]


The Suzhou Industrial Park has a bicycle sharing system (苏州工业园区公共自行车) with 1880 bicycles and 72 stations, which launched in January 2012.[151]


A municipal scheme in Beijing launched in 2012 with the stationing of 2,000 bikes in Chaoyang district.[152] The scheme is scheduled to consist of 20,000 rental bikes and 500 kiosks, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform. The main operating area will be in business districts and near subway stations and major public venues. By 2015, authorities intend to have 50,000 bikes available, similar to the Hangzhou scheme that is their model.[153][154] This follows the failure of a scheme launched in 2005-2006 (ahead of Velib) and in the light of a 2011 announcement by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport that it expects to raise the bike share of urban commuter journeys from 20 to 23 per cent by 2015.[153]


In India, Mumbai operates two schemes,[155] and the Ministry of Urban Development is preparing to launch a 10-city public bike scheme as part of its “Mission for Sustainable Habitat”.[156] In Bangalore, the ATCAG system implements a bicycle sharing program aimed primarily to solve the last-mile problem for users of the Bangalore Metro.

Namma Cycle is a bicycle sharing system being implemented in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc, Bangalore) campus and the surrounding neighborhood. Bicycles are made available at select locations in a community/city allowing people to have ready access to these public bicycles.

Namma Cycle is a semi automated bicycle sharing system inaugurated on August 2012 with 100 Cycles and 6 stations. In 15 months of operations it has completed around 16000 Trips averaging 1000 Trips in a month.

Namma Cycle uses a Free and Open Software system ECBike developed by Gubbi Labs to manage the entire bicycle rental operations.


According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as of 2012 there were a number of city-level pilot schemes in operation in Japan, the largest of which was Edogawa City in Tokyo with 500 cycles available for hire.[157]


Astana-bike 200 bikes in 40 stations, 1000 bikes for Expo 2017.[158]


Main article: YouBike

Taipei City launched a public bicycle rental program in 2009, and is currently in the process of expanding the program by a factor of more than ten. Initially, an unexpectedly small number of daily users in the trial district of Xinyi (信義) prompted the city's Department of Transportation (zh) to install the "YouBike" system along Taipei Metro lines and to offer the service in several more districts.[159] Other proposed fixes for the slow initial adoption of YouBike rentals have been implemented to great results, such as rates reduction (currently free for 30 minutes and progressing from NT$10 afterwards), and multiple ways to open an account (online via the YouBike website or at the kiosks).[160][161]

Middle East[edit]


In April 2011, Tel Aviv municipality launched Tel-O-Fun, a bicycle sharing system. As of 2013, the system comprises 163 stations and 1630 bikes.


The bike sharing system has 10 bicycles available at 25 rental stations throughout Isfahan, since 2011 and bike sharing services program called " سامانه هوشمند دوچرخه " meaning "Smart bike system" for the City of Meshed in April 2012.


The Q Bike program provides bike sharing services for the City of Doha.


A bicycle sharing station in Swanston Street, Melbourne.
A bicycle helmets vending machine in The University of Melbourne Parkville campus, Australia

The first municipal bicycle share system in Australia, Melbourne Bike Share (MBS), was launched in Melbourne in June 2010. Melbourne's MBS and CityCycle in Brisbane[162] are the only known bicycle share schemes in the world that attempt to operate under a mandatory helmet requirement.[163][164][165]

MBS is a publicly funded scheme based on Montreal's BIXI system and was launched initially with only 10 stations, with the aim of having 50 stations by July 2010. Implementation and planning costs totalled A$5.5 million over four years, which required a usage rate of 500 trips per day, or 15,000 per month, for the scheme to break-even.[9][166] During the first week of operation, the system was only used 253 times.[167] This use rate dropped to only 136 times per day by October 2010,[9] for a total of 20,700 trips, with nearly 650 subscribers. The low popularity of the scheme in comparison to other cities[168] has been attributed to Melbourne's mandatory helmet laws, acknowledged by the government, which recently began subsidising helmet purchases at $5 per helmet from local convenience stores and vending machines.[9][165][168] The helmet subsidy added an additional A$5 million to the cost of the bike share programme.[162] After the introduction of subsidised helmets, MBS bicycle usage rate increased to 183 trips per day.[9] This usage rate increased to 283 trips per day (8,500 trips per month) in December 2010, with another increase to 433 trips per day (13,000 per month) by May 2011.[166] Promotional efforts to advertise MBS have been limited, though mobile phone optimised websites have also been created, such as BikeShare.Tel, allowing users to locate stations and see bike availability.[169] Currently the MBS uses 500 cycles at about 50 stations around Melbourne's central business district.[162]

MELTours launched a bicycle tour based on the MBS within a month of launch as a way to enable tourists to see the city using the MBS and to learn how to use it. The tour was designed around the available MBS pods where each leg is no more than 30 minutes in duration. This means that the cost to the customer is as low as possible while a two-hour activity can still be taken.[170]


Subscriptions for CityCycle, a Vélib-style community bike hire scheme by JCDecaux for Brisbane started on 1 September 2010 with bikes planned to available from 1 October 2010 at 150 stations from the University of Queensland to Tenerrife. Currently CityCycle uses 1,060 cycles at 104 locations, with plans to expand to 2,000 cycles at 150 stations by mid-2012. Currently CityCycle has no plans to rent helmets to riders, who must carry their own helmets to the station for each journey.[162]

Brisbane City Council Mayor, Graham Quirk conceded the Citycycle service had "not got off to a flying start". By October 2011 there were 416 trips per day for 1060 bikes available for hire at 104 stations. In mid August 2011, Brisbane City Council cut the daily casual subscription from $11 to $2. There were only 200 $11 daily casual hires in July 2011 and 332 in August 2011. Casual hires jumped up to 1064 in September 2011 in response to the price reduction to $2 per day. Council has also attached 400 free helmets to bikes on an honesty basis. JCDecaux Australia chief executive said there was "no doubt" the mandatory use of helmets constrained the use of the scheme. An $8M investment to establish the Citycycle scheme resulted in 80,000 bike trips during the first 12 months. Council is proceeding with expanding to 150 stations and increasing bike numbers to 2000.[171]

The 200,000th trip was taken on Brisbane's CityCycle in April 2012, with over 600 cycle journeys every day. May 2012 was a new record month with 18,874 trips. 223,000 trips were taken during 2013.

The bikes are now linked to the public transport go card - a single card covering all busses, trains, ferries and the new light rail system to open in 2014 along southern beaches.

As part of the CityCycle contract, the French company JCDecaux collects all the advertising revenue from the 167 advertising panels and 25 advertising sign sites erected in Brisbane. However the bike hire scheme was operating at a loss of A$976,000 in the 2012-2013 financial year paid by the Brisbane ratepayers, and by December 2013 the scheme cost ratepayers A$14 million.[172]


A study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports observing[173] an increase in cycling where Bicycle sharing system have been run.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Susan Shaheen and Stacey Guzman (Fall 2011). "Worldwide Bikesharing". Access Magazine No. 39. University of California Transportation Center. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d O'Brien, Oliver (March 2, 2012). "London Bikeshare Expanding East and West". Suprageography. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Bike-Sharing Programs Hit the Streets in Over 500 Cities Worldwide; Earth Policy Institute; Larsen, Janet; 25 April 2013
  4. ^ a b Mairie de Paris (2013-07-15). "Paris fête les six ans de son Vélib' (en infographie)" [Paris celebrates six years of its Vélib '(in infographic)] (in French). NewsRing. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  5. ^ "In Focus: The Last Mile and Transit Ridership". Institute for Local Government. January 2011. 
  6. ^ Shaheen, Susan; Guzman, S., and H. Zhang. (2010). "Bikesharing in Europe, the Americas, and Asia: Past, Present, and Future". Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research. 
  7. ^ "Mobiped". Mobiped. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2012-01-15. [dead link]
  8. ^ James May (2010-10-21). "May, James, ''Cycling Proficiency With James May'', The Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2010". London: Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Lucas, Clay, ''Helmet Law Hurting Shared Bike Scheme'', The Age, 29 November 2010". Melbourne: 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  10. ^ Bikesharing in Europe, the Americas, and Asia Past, Present, and Future. 2010. 
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External links[edit]