The creation of new cyclists has become a central goal for the bike trade and bike sharing has played an at times controversial role in edging closer to a higher modal share.
CI.N asks a panel of Cycling Industries Europe’s bike share working group experts for their insights on the future and how the wider business may benefit.
What have been the key evolutions in making bike sharing a success in recent years?
Erdem Ovacik, Donkey Republic
What has been increasingly important in making bike share a success has been to create a simple and flexible offering that is affordable and responsible. We need to take into account not only riders, but all citizens in the city as stakeholders, and make sure we are responsible in using public space. We need to offer cities a real solution, without long waiting times to set up the system.
A reliable system with tested hardware, software and operational track record is important for cities. What worked for us is that while we gained more track record, we have been also able to keep our costs low and maintain an affordable, no-hassle solutions.
Steve Pyer, Ride-On Scotland
The influx of the Chinese dockless models with new technology and massive fanfare injected much needed excitement into the industry and forced traditional companies to evolve quickly. This also generated huge amounts of press coverage into the benefits of cycling. However, in terms of specific evolutions primarily we should talk about flexibility with dockless and hybrid models able to deploy much faster and with less cost of traditional docked schemes.
Secondly, accessibility has grown thanks to using a mobile phone in tandem with the hire, which is much more convenient that a specific access card.
Last of all, e-Bikes have become more mainstream and have introduced a whole new demographic to the wider industry. Often people’s first experience of an e-Bike may be a dockless unit, creating new customer potential.
Kristian Brink, Urban Sharing
Operational challenges and digitisation have been key. For the latter, because the digitisation has brought a whole new set of opportunities – take Mobility-as-a-Service and Intelligent Transport Systems, as an example – these have allowed bike sharing to enter the realm of public transport. In regards to the operational challenges, that is experience that comes over time. In the last 15 years, companies have understood how a shared economy like bike sharing works, and how to meet the demand at the right time of the day and at the right location. Not an easy task, but the simple tracing of operational impacts has had an enormous influence in the improvement of the service.
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