Recent years have seen the concept of smart cities grow exponentially.
Smart cities use technology to solve city problems and ensure optimal service provision. As cities grow, one of the major pain points is the issue of transportation.
This is two-pronged. On the one hand, cities are increasingly looking to decongest by discouraging motorists from bringing their cars. On the other hand, people have to get to where they need to be quickly and effectively.
Enter the bike-sharing program.
What is Bike Sharing?
A bike-sharing system is a concept where authorities provide bikes for short-term use by the public for a price.
The specifics on bike-sharing systems in various places vary. However, the principle remains to provide a healthy, fun way for people to get around.
Bike Sharing: The History
The premier bike-sharing systems started in Europe in the 1960s. In 1998, Rennes in France adopted the concept with a bike-sharing system dispersed throughout the city.
However, the concept did not gain significant traction until the mid-2000’s when its uptake became much more pronounced around the world.
Features of a Bike Sharing System
While some specifics may vary from city to city, this system’s fundamentals remain much the same globally.
Here are the main commonalities.
Bikes and stations
These form the most basic part of the system. The bikes tend to be a standard colour, size, and configuration. They also tend to be branded and often used by organizations for advertising.
BIXI Montreal, the bike-sharing system, has invested in thousands of ICONIC and E-fit bikes.
Stations, on the other hand, are hi-tech areas with payment kiosks and docking decks. Montreal boasts of a grid-powered e-station with a smart kiosk. This system is integrated into the back end, allowing users to lock and unlock bikes with their smartphones or cards.
The same system charges up bikes, making them ready for use. Similarly, non-charged bikes cannot be released from the system. This ensures customers get a reliable, fully functional bike.
Usage or Membership Fees
The common access fees are passes for short-term access and flat-fee membership plans for long-term access.
There is also what is known as a usage fee, charges in increments of 30 minutes to an hour.
Membership fees often favour people looking to use the program routinely like university students getting to school and employees going to work. On the other hand, passes are great for one-off use and visitors coming to a city temporarily.
Tech at Its Best
There you have it. A functional, reliable transportation system that is not only convenient but sustainable as well!