This past week the city of Barcelona inaugurated a new extension to their public transit system. It’s environment-friendly and has already been introduced with success in cities like Oslo and Stockholm .
The idea is simple and brilliant. For 24 euros/year* you can get a card from the city hall that allows you to check out automatically a bicycle at numerous points in the city (mostly at every metro station, train station and major hubs) and use it for free for half an hour. It’s supposed to be an extension of the transit system. You get a bicycle at one station, cycle it to where you are going and drop it off at the nearest drop-off point to your destination. Half an hour is enough to cross most of the city but if you need more time you pay 30 cents for every half hour up to two hours. After two hours you are penalized and may lose your card. It’s all self-service and Bicing is available from 5 am to midnight during the week and 24 hours on the weekend.
I think it’s brilliant. It would really have helped me if this service had been in place this past year. I lived right around the corner from a metro station and work right across the station from another station. Unfortunately the stations were on very different lines, which meant subway was out for me as an option to get to work. Instead I took a bus that took anywhere from 10 mins to 30 mins, depending on when the bus passed by the stop. I often wished I had a bicycle because the whole route to work had big cycling lanes and it was a pretty straight path – down Diagonal to Marina & down Marina to the archives. It would probably have taken me 5-10 mins on a bike! Oh well, maybe next time….
Right now there are 200 bicycles distributed on 14 stations. On May 1st there will be 750 bicycles on 50 stations and by July 1st 1,500 bicycles over 100 stations.
This city is amazing… You can get more info here.
* If you join before July 7th, the card costs only 6 euros for the year.