In all big swiss cities rental agencies have been established where one can lend bicycles, skate-boards or scooters for free. The agencies are situated at central locations with a high volume of pedestrians and are run by unemployed asylum seekers.
Background & Objectives
In these days the environmental pollution and the noise exposure produced by traffic is dramatically increasing, but the free bicylce rentals are a environment friendly alternative to private car use and a great offer for both locals and tourists. The social aspect of the campaign, that asylum seekers get a job to do, is also very important. The whole project is financed by the federal office for migration and by sponsors.
In central locations in Bern, Genf, Lausanne, Thun and Zürich between may and october bikes, skate boards and scooters are lent. The rental agencies are opened from 7:30 to 21:30 and each year newly bought bikes are offered to guarantee safety.
It is not at all complicated to borrow such a mean of transport. In Bern>where the campaign was started in 1999, one only has to deposit an identification card and 20 francs (12,5 Euros) which one receives back when returning the bike, in order to be allowed to use the bicycle for the whole day long. The same campaign is also carried out in Genf where one can use a bike the whole day long for free when depositing an identification card and 50 francs (31,25 Euros).
The free bicycle rentals developed to an important part of swiss mobility offers and almost all (98%) users give a positive feedback to the campaign. In the summer of 2003 76,000 vehicles were borrowed and most of the users were locals between the age of 15 and 35. In Bern 8,000 vehicles were borrowed in 2004 by locals but also a lot of tourists. 39% of the people who used the offer claim that they would have chosen the car if there hadn't been the opoportunity of borrowing a bicycle for free. This shows that the campaign helps to reduce emissions and additionally it is a new and better offer for tourists to visit sights.