The system of transportation in Madrid will have a new agent: the pubic bike. As we explained in previous articles, the bicycle is getting popular among the citizens of the city, but its use still isn’t massive. The local government has tried to promote it through different ways, but the most important one never arrived: a public system. Finally, this service will be available in May 2014.
Unlike other important cities in Europe like Barcelona, Copenhagen or Amsterdam, Madrid doesn’t have a public bike service. Former local governments promised it many times, but the project was always postponed. Some weeks ago, the City Council has announced how this system will be.
The main feature of this system is the type of bikes the citizens of Madrid will enjoy. They will be electric. This is important because there are many slopes in the capital of Spain, and this is a common reason to argue the inconvenience of using the bike here. Those bikes, provided by the Spanish company Bonopark, will have an engine which weighs 3.5 kg. Users that don’t need this electric help will be able to choose the traditional function of manpower.
Prices of public bikes, compared with transportation in Madrid
The city council has also announced how much the public bikes will cost. There will be two fares. One for subscribers and another for non-subscribers. It is still not clear who can subscribe and who not. Will it be registered citizens of Madrid, subscribers to public transportation pass in the region or anyone who wishes to?
The fare for subscribers is 50 cents the first half hour and 60 cents the next half hour. From the third hour on, each hour period will cost 4 euro. Every user will have to pay 25 euro per year to subscribe. The fare for non-subscribers will cost 2 euro the first hour and 4 euro per hour going forward from that point. This fare is aimed to tourists who are eager to know what to see and what to do in Madrid. Our Austrias tour and our Bourbon tour can be complete in two hours time, for example.
If you compare these prices with the rest of transportation in Madrid, we see that it is not very expensive. A single ticket for Metro service costs 1.50 euro, a single ticket for commuter trains costs from 1.60 euro and a short journey in taxi never costs under 5-6 euro.
The City Hall has also released other interesting information regarding the introduction of the electric bikes. To start there will be 120 stations scattered along the historic center. each station will have the capacity for 26 bikes and the total amount of available bikes will be around 1560 units.
Bike rentals for tourists
Even if this service will be positive for the city, nobody is happy with it. In fact, the bike rental sector doesn’t like the project because it will snatch many users from them. Prices are much lower than the ones they offer, and many of these companies don’t offer electric bikes.
Madrid has a lot of bike rental companies aimed at tourists, such as Pangea, Rent & Roll, Bravo Bike or My Bike Rio. These will try to compete with this service offering other original vehicles like tricycles, tandems and electric scooters.
Clearly, the situation of transportation in Madrid will improve with this new system, but the citizens of Madrid will have to show their civic behaviour to preserve it as well to make it possible.