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Can a new public bike hire scheme conquer the hills of Lisbon?

By News Editor / Updated: 11 Oct 2017
Lisbon Street

Lisbon is famous for its hills: seven of them lead down to its city centre. Some of its streets even offer funiculars to help people get up them. It therefore begs the question: could a bike sharing system ever take off there?

Portugal's capital is going to give it a try. 100 bikes were first made available for public hire in the Parque das Nações neighbourhood in June: two thirds of them were e-bikes. Beta testers can currently access them from 10 docking stations via an app.

Throughout August and September, bikes are also set to appear in new districts, including along the waterfront, the Lisbon Plateau, and the tourist area of Baixa. The scheme will eventually consist of 1,410 bikes, with 940 of them e-bikes.

A project called "Lisboa Horizontal" recently mapped the city's gradients for cycling, and 63% of all the city’s streets turned out to be less than 4%. The bikes are going to be placed predominantly in the flatter parts of Lisbon –  the riverfront and the plateau area. E-bikes are there to assist in hillier areas.

Infrastructure is also part of the plan to make Lisbon bicycle friendly. Eventually, the bikes will be connected to a 100-mile network of routes stretching across the city. Six main bike avenues will be available for faster, longer-distance journeys. In turn, these will be linked by other connecting paths on streets in quieter neighbourhoods.  

Emel, Lisbon's public transport body, has so far invested €23m in the project.

To find out more, visit theguardian.com

Watch the "Lisboa Horizontal" video here.

Image credit: Reprise by K. Kendall  (from Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

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