OV Fiets is a pilot project in the Netherlands that started in 2002, aiming at making the bicycle a part of the public transport system. Currently there are 180 rail stations and 50 other public transport locations where OV Fiets rental facilities have been set up that provide fast and easy access to rental bikes, which can be used as extension of the (rail) trip.
OV-Fiets (www.ov-fiets.nl) is designed for frequent users, mainly commuters, who are looking for a quick and flexible continuation of their (rail) trip by bicycle.
OV-Fiets started as a project of ProRail, in collaboration with the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways), the Fietsersbond (Cyclist Union) and several local councils. It received a development subsidy from the Dutch government under the program for the development of innovative and attractive solutions for the use of bicycles in combination with railway journeys. The Nederlandse Spoorwegen took over the exploitation of OV-Fiets in January 2011.
In addition to the OV-fiets, electrical scooters and e-bikes have been added to the product range. These fast and green options cater customers who need to travel longer distances to their destination.
How does it work
The renting process is computerized, using the personal OV-chip card (card for public transport) or the OV-Fiets card for check-out and return of the bicycles.>Users have to register with OV-Fiets before they can access the service. They use their personal OV-chip card or receive an OV-Fiets card, which enables to check out the bicycles from a computerized system at the stations.
The bicycles can be used one way, e.g. to the workplace, where they can be parked and locked for a certain period of time, e.g. during the whole day, until the user needs it for the return trip to the rail station. The utilization fee for OV-Fiets is €3 per 24 hours, with a maximum rental period of 72 hours. The user pays monthly by standing order, which requires a bank account in the Netherlands.
The yearly amount of rented bicycles reached 1,000,000 in 2011, with 100,000 users. The service is still continuously growing.
The user levels could be even higher if further adaptations to customer wishes would be realized, like guaranteed availability, options to book in advance, return possibilities at other rental points. However, to exploit this potential, substantial investments would be required.
www.ov-fiets.nl (in Dutch)