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With one account always a parts bike at hand

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Mobike, one of the participating providers of shared bicycles.Photo Qilai Shen / Bloomberg

The use of single bikes is made easier. Customers will soon be able to rent a single bicycle at ten different providers with one account.

Ten providers of part and rental bicycles in the Netherlands are going to work together. They want to make the use of shared bicycles easier, especially for people who want to use bikes from different companies. Customers now have to install a separate app for each provider and pay a separate deposit. Because of the cooperation, that does not have to be the case anymore. The initiators hope that more companies join.

This will be announced on Monday evening during a debate on bicycle sharing at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam, where the companies will sign a letter of intent. From 1 May, the bicycles of the participating companies must be visible to each other. By 1 March 2019, consumers can use and pay for bicycles with one account at all providers. Tour de Force, an organization that coordinates the bicycle policy of central government, provinces and municipalities, has brought the companies together.

The partnership consists of large foreign companies such as Mobike from China (active in Rotterdam) and Donkey Republic from Denmark (until recently active in Amsterdam), but also from small local providers such as Cykl from Wageningen and Haagsche stadfiets. Flickbike, Hello bike (Zuidas) and Urbee (electric bikes) participate in Amsterdam. The German Nextbike works together with transporter Arriva, BimBimBikes from Rotterdam is a platform for worldwide bicycle hire.

90 percent of the bikes

Ofo from China (active in Rotterdam) and oBike from Singapore (the most visible part bike, yellow-gray), do not participate. Ronald Haverman, founder of the public transport bicycle and now connected to Mobike, speaks of a “broad coalition of parties present on the market”. Haverman: “If you leave oBike out of consideration, it’s 90 percent of the bikes with a smartlock in the Netherlands.” Sub-bikes have locks that are opened via an app.

After a failed introduction last year, the bicycle companies hope for a second chance. In the summer months, 5 to 7,000 bicycles were placed in Amsterdam alone by four companies that wanted to gain market share as quickly as possible. The excess of unsolicited bicycles in the scarce public space led to a lot of annoyance among residents, entrepreneurs and the municipality. A ban followed in October.

Just like transport experts, the municipality of Amsterdam thinks that the bicycle – in fact a rental bike, but without a fixed parking location – can certainly contribute to more space and mobility in the city. Of the 847,000 bicycles in Amsterdam (out of 845,000 inhabitants), 43 percent were parked in public space. The city strives for more trips with fewer bicycles with new partial bicycle policy. Amsterdammers who have little cycling or no bicycle and frequent visitors such as commuters are the target group. Tourists cycle too little and can go to regular bike rental companies.

Mandatory garages

The Nota Deelfiets from the city of Amsterdam presented in December will be available for public consultation until 16 February . Amsterdam wants to grant a maximum of three parties a permit for two years, with a year possible extension. They may place a maximum of 3,000 bicycles, 9,000 total, which must be used at least four times a day. In the center, at public transport venues and in parks there are mandatory parking facilities. In addition, the partial bicycles can be parked anywhere.

According to Haverman, the cooperation of the ten companies is separate from the Amsterdam plan. The competition for that market is maintained. He does not know yet if Mobike will try to get one of the three permits. “Amsterdam pretends to have the second bike a second chance, but as it looks now there are more barriers than opportunities. A ban on free parking in the center is very disheartening. With such obstacles, the part bike gets no space. ”

Correction: in an earlier version of this story it was stated that Nextbike is transporter Arriva. That is not true, they work together. The error has been modified.

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