Photo: Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen
Popularity of Bycyklen bikes has risen steeply over the last few months and new records are being set on a monthly basis. April 2016 has so far been the busiest month in the short history of Bycyklen, with 36,446 trips in total. This record will be beaten in May, where Bycyklen forecasts a total of 70,000 trips.
The first annual report from the City and Commuter Bike Foundation reveals that the implementation of the bikeshare system in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg has been anything but a walk in the park. 2015 was fraught with various challenges - primarily to do with the construction of the bikes and software issues. Most of these have now been dealt with and the bikes are running smoothly.
On the positive side, the last of the 1,860 bikes arrived in 2015, and by the end of the year the number of docking stations distributed all over Copenhagen and Frederiksberg reached 95 (now 100). The effect of increased visibility around the city can be seen from usage of the bikes, and though the figures may not be spectacular , the City and Commuter Bike Foundation notched up a small surplus at the end of the year.
“Overall we are pleased with the results,” says Nikolaj Bøgh, chairman of Foundation. “There have been various problems with minor and less minor errors in the construction of the bikes and there have been some contractual hiccups along the way, but we are confident that these have now been sorted out and are very excited about the bikes' increasing popularity ."
Recently appointed CEO of the City and Commuter Bike Foundation, Tina Füssel, is very positive about the project and points out, “Bycyklen is a highly ambitious project consisting of online electric bikes: the system is the first of its kind in the entire world. The tablet on the bikes gives us the unique opportunity to continuously develop the system and we have plenty of exciting ideas on the drawing board already. The built-in GPS enables us to track the bikes, which means much lower bike loss compared to other cities around the world, where bike loss in bikeshare schemes poses a major problem. Last but not least we have bought a solution for the next eight years that includes operation and maintenance 24/7/365 and customer service every day of the week from 6-23. It is a huge apparatus, and yes, there have been start-up problems, but that is to be expected with such an ambitious and visionary scheme. We must be prepared to take chances if Copenhagen wants to maintain its position as one of the world’s leading bicycle cities.”
The vision behind the original bikeshare tender back in 2012 was to create a bikeshare system that could complement the public transport system, reduce congestion and promote healthy, environment-friendly transport. The bikeshare system provides easy access for regional expansion and the City and Commuter Bike Foundation is already in dialogue with several cities, thus fulfilling its goal of delivering green mobility to the Greater Copenhagen area.
The "white swans" now noticeable all around the Danish capital have caught the attention of the international media , generating political interest worldwide.
“A good number of international cities have signalled interest in the project and we have an ongoing dialogue about exporting the scheme to cities around the world. One example is Rotterdam, which has already put in an order for “our” system. Altogether there is tremendous awareness about our bikeshare scheme, and with the increase in usage, I’m convinced that it will be a huge success,” says Nikolaj Bøgh.
Tina Füssel is excited about a new business solution that will be implemented very soon. “A lot of major companies in Copenhagen have been calling for a business solution that can get their employees to meetings around the city without them having to wait for a taxi, coordinate public transport links or take a car. Luckily we have come up with a solution, which I expect it to be implemented in June. It will allow Bycyklen to offer easy, green professional commuting ,” says Tina Füssel.