From this spring, 300 shared bikes will be available in Prague
As early as the spring of 2016, Prague residents will be able to use 300 bikes to move around the capital. Because the bikesharing tender by the Prague City Transport Company is still underway, but residents’ interest in cycling continues to increase, Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) will continue to sponsor Rekola bikesharing in 2016. Over 2,000 people used this service last year, of whom 1,600 in Prague alone. Next year bikes will be provided for 5,000 inhabitants of the capital city. Rekola also cooperates with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR).
Cooperation between the Rekola association and the city authorities have also brought many benefits to those cyclists who do not use the service and prefer their own bikes. Rekola has provided the city with anonymised data on bike loans, which are used by IPR, for example in its recommendations for planned repairs to metro stations. “This data allows us to take account of the needs of cyclists when drawing up our plans. We have found, for example, that there are not enough bike stands in the city. Rekola data on bicycle thefts are also valuable in terms of crime prevention measures. This has led us to decide to apply for a grant from the Ministry of Interior to support a project for forensic identification of bicycle tags,” said Deputy Mayor Dolínek.
To ensure better availability of bikes, Rekola has obtained data and recommendations from the Prague Institute of Planning and Development. “Our objective in collecting data for Rekola is primarily to ensure good connections between public transport links and to ensure bicycles are available in areas where a high concentration of people work,” said Petr Hlaváček, Director of IPR Prague.
“We are delighted that the city authorities are interested in this data and are actively working with them. Next year we will introduce a new feature in the application to allow data users to consent to the use of anonymised data on their routes. This information will provide important input for planning and prioritising further development of infrastructure for cyclists,” said Pavlína Pacáková, coordinator for Rekola bikesharing.
From this year, Rekola is also represented in the advisory body to the Prague City Council for cycling. “A non-profit project has been implemented in Prague which responds to the needs of both individuals and the city. Every year Rekola is becoming more professional and offers an alternative form of city transport to an ever increasing number of people. Because of this we have decided to establish closer cooperation and also to invite them to participate in the cycling commission,” said Dolínek when explaining the decision.
Next year Rekola will mainly focus on the availability of bicycles. This will be helped by its work with the Institute of Planning and Development, but also by the new technologies the project will employ: “We are introducing “virtual bike stands” which are places where users can lock or lock up their bike. This is the Internet of Things, so there is no need to install special stands. This means bikes can not only be picked up from or returned to existing stands near metro stations or bus and tram stops, but also from your favourite café or library” said Vítek Ježek, founder of the Rekola project.
Municipal bikesharing should be available in Prague from 2017. The plan assumes a total of 1,000 bikes and around 110 stations. Rekola welcomes this project. “The organiser of the procurement proceedings intends to hold a tender in the form of a Competitive Dialogue. The selection procedure for a supplier that has been chosen is extremely welcome because good planning is the key to the system’s success. It appears that Prague will be able to avoid the setbacks that plagued the initial operation of the shared bicycle systems in Vienna or even in Berlin,” was how Ms Pacáková commented on the city’s plan.