Profit FYI Banner
 
 

FYI: The Rundown

Bike-Sharing Around the World

Bike-sharing services combine the convenience of car sharing (think Zipcar) with the environmental sensitivity of cycling. Pricing varies, but the idea is about the same no matter where you go; riders pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee and a small hourly riding fee. The first half-hour to hour of each ride is typically free with a subscription.

Many bike-sharing programs were initially designed to be completely free, with anyone who needed a ride picking up a bike and dropping it off, no payment required. Here are five of the biggest operators, most of whom run sharing programs in dozens of municipalities.

Hangzhou Public Bicycle

Hangzhou Public Bicycle

Location: Hangzhou, China
Total bikes: 61,000
Year opened: 2008
Rates: 200 yuan refundable deposit, plus hourly fees
The largest bike-sharing program in the world (by far) serves this city in Eastern China, a sprawling metropolis with more than 4 million citizens in the city center alone. Bike sharing is so ingrained here that half of the system’s customers use bikes to get to work. Stations can be found every 100 meters in Hangzhou, so there’s never a need to walk more than a few steps to find a ride. The city expects 100,000 bikes to be deployed by 2015.
hzzxc.com.cn

 

Cyclocity

Cyclocity

Location: Primarily France, plus other European countries, Australia, and Japan
Total bikes: Approximately 40,000
Year opened: 2007
Rates: €29 a year and up, plus hourly fees
This France-based outfit operates under a different name in each city. The largest is Vélib’, in Paris, where 20,000 bikes make it the second-largest sharing system worldwide. A Website lets riders search for a station (there’s one every 300 meters), complete with real-time updates about how many bikes are available.
en.cyclocity.com

 

B-cycle

B-cycle

Location: 12 US cities
Total bikes: Approximately 2,100
Year opened: 2010
Rates: US$80 a year (short-term plans available)
A smaller outfit that’s completely US-based, B-cycle’s 500 bicycles deployed in Denver mark its largest installation. A joint venture between Trek Bikes, Humana, and the Crispin Porter ad agency, B-cycle encourages fans to vote on its Website for the city in which it opens facilities next.
bcycle.com

 

nextbike

nextbike

Location: Germany, Central Europe, Turkey, New Zealand
Total bikes: Approximately 10,000
Year opened: 2004
Rates: €480 a year (short-term plans available)
Riders who rent a bike in Germany or Central or Eastern Europe are likely riding a nextbike. Pricing for nextbikes is unique: riders pay a single subscription fee for unlimited access with no surcharges—allowing pedalers to ride all they want for an hour (€1), a year (€480), or something in between. Bikes can also be reserved in advance, a handy feature for travelers who want to prebook their transportation.
nextbike.de

 

Bixi

Bixi

Location: 12 cities in North America, Europe, and Australia
Total bikes: Approximately 28,000
Year opened: 2007
Rates: Typically CA$80 a year, plus hourly fees
Bixi, whose name comes from a combination of bike and taxi, is the largest bike-sharing system in the United States and Canada. Bixi “game-ifies” the biking experience by tracking individual usage, awarding the 25 most active Bixi users a free annual membership. The 2011 riding champ completed 1,265 of the more than 4 million Bixi rides registered that year.
montreal.bixi.com

Christopher Null

 

 
 
    E-mail this page E-mail this page    Printer View Printer View