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Krakow bike sharing goes big time (Poland)

By Jan Christiaens / Updated: 01 Aug 2014
Krakow, the first city in Eastern Europe to experiment with a modern, swipe-card accessible bike-sharing system, is ready to take the concept to the next stage. Plans call for expanding bike-sharing from a token fleet of 120 bikes to a citywide system that offers a practical alternative to commuters.
The city recently invited bids for the creation of a system much greater in scale than its current system, BikeOne. This would increase Krakow’s bike-sharing to 150 docking points holding 10 bicycles each, according to a report in krakowpost.com. The winning firm would provide the investment and in exchange receive a 10-year contract to operate the system and collect revenue from user fees and the sale of advertising on bikes and docking points.
“We hope that, if the number of bikes and stands is greater than it is today, and the service benefits from more people, it may contribute to a reduction in congestion in the city,” Piotr Hamarnik, spokesman of the city’s transport infrastructure agency, told the news site.

The city also wants to make the system more convenient for users. The current system requires that first-time users establish an account online. The new system would allow payment at the stands by credit card or cash, and – in time - with the multi-functional Krakow City Card, according to krakowpost.com.

BikeOne launched in 2009 with EU support under the Civitas Caravel project. Having rolled out with 100 bikes and 10 stations, it was seen as a pilot initiative to spark a cycling culture in a city that had very little cycle presence. In time, another six stations and 20 bikes were added. Over the course of the first two years, BikeOne averaged between 5,000-8,000 checkouts per month, with a steady growth in bike rides of 20% per year.

Sponsorship was difficult, however, and at the end of the three-year EC contract for BikeOne, the system was closed down last November, with plans to restart with new funding in the spring.

Meanwhile, the city is also building up its cycling infrastructure. Since BikeOne was launched, Krakow’s cycling network has grown from 70 to 108 km, with plans for an 11 km extension this year. The city has also been installing public bike racks in recent years, which can now be found at 208 locations.

Source: Krakowpost
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