Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bicing

Barcelona has very recently gotten system of "citybikes" like the "Bycykler" we know in Copenhagen. The system is different from the old system in Copenhagen in several ways however. Most of them enabled by new technology. The system is called Bicing (and here is a small comment on how it relates to similar system in other cities)

The homepage has a nice view of the bikestations (as an overlay of google maps).

The procedure for using Bicing is that one orders a plastic card from the internet or from the centrally located office. The plastic card is used to free a bike at the bikestands. The card itself costs 24 Euros and the registration requires submission of a valid credit card number. While rides shorter than 30 minutes are free, longer rides cost a small fee. And if one fails to return a bike 300Euros are withdrawn from the credit card (!).

Mostly the system works ok. In the beginning I expirienced a little paranoia and insecurity when returning bikes because of possible fines. No recipt is given when the bikes are returned.

While the system seems to work well overall, some small problems can be observed. Hopefully just starting trouble. The first installations of the system started in January 2007. For example it is a bit confidence sapping when one sees a stand like this:



And the system then says "Sorry no bikes available". Another day many stands were not working because of "Connection problems". Probably it was just start-up problems. I've used the system for almost 2 months now, and it seems to have fewer and fewer problems.

The net of roads with bike-paths is by no means complete, but it is adequate for my current use. Here is a map of current and planned bike-paths.

2 comments:

Become Laura Bel said...

Hello, I'm a bicing user and I'm sick of it, so I started a blogg to talk about it... any inof or comments we'll be great, I understand Spanish, Catalan and English so you are more than welcome to participate!!!

Muhammad Saeed said...

Great! How plastic card can be used to to do Bicing. Pretty impressive! I like that.
Plastic Card