Madrid and other Spanish towns are considering introducing ‘bicing’, based on Barcelona’s model of public hire of bicycles
Madrid town hall is analysing how to introduce the use of publicly owned bicycles in the city a system already used in Barcelona known as ‘bicing’. Last summer a consultant from Madrid town hall went to Barcelona to study how their model of ‘bicing’ works.
The consultant sent by Madrid town hall met those responsible for ‘bicing’ in Barcelona and found out at first hand all the details about how the system functions and how it was introduced in the Catalan capital. In fact, Barcelona is one of the pioneering cities in the automated service of lending bicycles to get around an urban centre and has become one of the reference points along with Paris and Lyon which have also implemented this type of service.
Although the conclusions of the study have not yet been made public Ana Botella, the municipal representative for the environment in Madrid has confirmed that the 64 kilometres of cycle tracks, known as the ’green ring’, that will be created around the Spanish capital will have a public bicycle lending service.
This proposal principally aimed at leisure falls short of a real transport service which could be used to get around the city like the service already in place in Barcelona and Sevilla or other European cities such as Paris or Brussels where the number of bicycles available for use run into thousands and can be picked up or dropped off at any of the automatic stations found throughout the whole city.
However, sources from Madrid town hall have said that they are looking at the possibility of creating a infrastructure for a public bicycle lending service although nothing has been decided yet. In order to be able to do something similar to Barcelona the city would need around 274 kilometres of cycle tracks, something which the regional government has committed to create.
Other Spanish cities such el Cabildo in Tenerife or Sabadell have also expressed an interest in a public bicycle lending service as well as foreign interest from Milan or Oslo and even San Fransciso which has been in contact with Barcelona to obtain further information on their system of ‘bicing’ which according to Francesc Narváez the councillor in for mobility in Barcelona, could become an urban transport system for the 21st century.
The main difference between the system of public bicycle lending in Barcelona and the rest of the world is that this system belongs to the town hall itself and not to the company that manages it and is financed by money obtained from parking costs in the city centre.
Furthermore people who use this service only pay around 24 euros a year.