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Our PBSC team was in Leipzig to attend the world cycling summit: Velo-City 2023. This major event organized by the European Cyclist Federation (ECF) brings together numerous urban mobility players every year to promote cycling as a healthy and sustainable means of transportation. 

This year, Gian Carlo Crivello, our Customer Relationship Officer, joined a round table discussion alongside micromobility experts on the topic: How to make a successful bike sharing scheme? Presented by Peter Dalos, the panel's objective was to position bike sharing at the heart of the mobility transition.

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Let's explore our specialists’ recommendations: 

Making bike sharing more accessible

According to our experts, an effective bike-sharing system is one that is accessible to most people. Therefore, it is important to simplify the user experience by implementing various bike rental methods (QR codes, membership cards, etc.) as well as payment methods. It is essential  to offer a solution that is suitable for everyone, by opting for a mixed fleet made up of regular and electric bikes. 

By combining bike sharing with the city's public transportation option, it also increases the accessibility of the system. In fact, bike sharing stations should be strategically located near subway, bus or train stops. Finally, it is essential to provide the service to the city’s remote areas. For example, in Madrid, we have extended the new Bicimad system to 21 neighborhoods, offering an active mobility option to a wider audience.

Promoting sustainability

Nowadays, it is important to offer cities and operators a sustainable solution. PBSC's solutions are the perfect example. We have deployed over 100,000 bikes worldwide since 2008, and 99% of our fleet is still in circulation. Indeed, in cities like Montreal and London, the majority of the fleet's bikes, deployed more than 10 years ago, are still in use today.

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Our specialists also highlight the value of defining more specific sustainability objectives when setting up tenders. Initiatives must come from both cities, operators and suppliers.

Finding the necessary funding

Financing remains a major challenge in micromobility, as it is the main obstacle to the implementation of bike sharing systems. Some systems obtain financing through sponsorship and others may receive government funding, such as the city of Madrid, which received funding from the European Union for its Bicimad system. 

"As an industry leader we need to push for more bike sharing funding. If cities get more financial resources, they will be able to choose the urban transport that best suits their needs, focusing on an active, healthy and sustainable transport option" says Gian Carlo Crivello.

Addressing vandalism 

For a bike-sharing program to be effective, acts of vandalism must be reduced. Our experts suggest several levers. Systems must be equipped with robust equipment and advanced technology. An example is our anti-theft smartlocking system, which docks and secures our bikes in stations. 

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In addition, industry professionals recommend enhancing community engagement by making the rental and riding experience easy, convenient and enjoyable. Indeed, if the user adopts the system and enjoys its experience, they will be more likely to take ownership of the bike, which also reduces the risk of vandalism.

To conclude, to ensure a successful bike sharing system, our experts highlighted four key elements: accessibility, sustainability, financing and anti-vandalism. They are optimistic that bike sharing has a bright future!

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