Barcelona´s public bicycle service due to launch an electrical bike service by the end of this year
Barcelona´s bicycle sharing service, Bicing, has announced plans to launch an electrical bike service designed to aid longer journeys around the city. This service aims to improve the effectiveness of the current Bicing service by promoting the use of electrical bicycles, which will further enhance the image of Barcelona as a ´Smart City´. An initial trial of the new service will begin this December when 300 electronic bikes will be spread over 45 Bicingstations across the city. As with the original Bicing service, this new scheme will be directed towards regular residents of Barcelona and will be unavailable to short-stay tourists.
Barcelona (ACN). – Barcelona´s bicycle sharing service, Bicing, has announced plans to launch an electrical bike service later this year. The new service is designed to complement the regular Bicingscheme, but will be directed more towards users who wish to take longer or steeper journeys around the city. Bicinghave stated that they aim to improve the effectiveness of the current service by promoting the use of electrical bicycles which will further enhance the image of Barcelona as a Smart City. An initial trial of the new service will begin around this Christmas time, when 300 electronic bikes will be spread over 45 Bicingstations across the Catalan capital. As with the original Bicingservice, this new scheme will be directed towards regular residents of Barcelona and will be unavailable to short-stay tourists. The current Bicing service began in 2007 and includes 420 stations with 6,000 bikes. Barcelonan citizens can pay an annual subscription fee for free use of the bikes for journeys under half an hour, with a small surcharge added every half an hour after that, up to a maximum of 2 hours. There are nearly 10,000 members which have subscribed to this popular service.
Electric Bicing will manufacture all of the new bikes in Catalonia and will allow the user to combine physical exercise with electrical support. The new bicycles will be ridden in the bike lines of Barcelona without exceeding a speed limit of 25km/h. The initiative is designed to complement the regular Bicingservice and will improve the efficiency of the bicycles when completing longer journeys around the city.
The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, has commented that "the introduction of ElectricBicingis a step forward in our mission to define a new model of our city as smarter and more sustainable". The Mayor added that the new service "is a less-polluting way to get around which betters Barcelona as a city, making it more human, healthier, and a further improvement to the welfare and quality life of the local people".
Trial period to start this December
The scheme will conduct its first phase in December 2014, when 150 electric bikes will be distributed, and a second phase in January 2015, when a further 150 bikes will be released. These 300 bicycles will be dispersed amongst 45 stations throughout Barcelona, and will be fully integrated into the current Bicingsystem in terms of schedules, computer systems, customer service and application process. It is thought that this initial trial will incur a total cost of €5 million and is expected to raise €650,000 through subscriptions to the service, which is limited to between 7,000 and 8,000 users.
Bicing as a successful bike sharing scheme
Bicing first opened in Barcelona in 2007 as a way for local residents to complete small and medium journeys around the city in an environmentally friendly manner; eliminating pollution, roadway noise and traffic congestion within the city. Since 2007 the popularity of the service has been growing rapidly, and the city council has continually added new bikes to the system to cover the ten inner districts of the city. There are currently 6,000 Bicing bikes spread across 420 stations around Barcelona, with nearly 10,000 members which are subscribed to the system.
Users have to pay an annual subscription fee of €47 for use of the bicycles. The bikes are then free to use for up to half an hour, with a small fee of 74 cents for every half an hour after that, up to a maximum of 2 hours. After this time, users get a penalty and if the time exceeds 24h they are fined. Users of the BicingElectronicservice will be able to access the scheme for an additional annual payment of €14, plus a surcharge of 45 cents for the first half an hour and 80 cents for every half an hour after that, also up to a maximum of 2 hours.
Not an option for tourists
As with the original service, Electric Bicing will only be available to any regular resident of Barcelona (including non-Spanish nationals in possession of a NIE or Foreign Identification Number, which can be obtained if you are studying, working or living for more than 3 months in Spain). Regular tourists and short-stay visitors of the city are not able to access the service and can instead rent bicycles from the many other bike rental companies around Barcelona.