Pedal into the future

Bike Sharing la mode

Editorial Staff
February 7, 2008

Florence just got a tad more cosmopolitan. City officials approved a bike-sharing service similar to those in other European cities. Modeled on the successful program in Paris and scheduled to start by autumn 2008, this ambitious initiative will make 700 bicycles available at 50 pick-up and drop-off points throughout the historic centre—a number that will double in the next two years.

 

Riders will register with the service, paying an annual 35-euro fee for unlimited use of the bikes and a magnetic card allowing them to pick up and drop off bikes at automated checkpoints.

 

Bike-sharing stations, no more than 300 metres apart, will hold at least 15 bikes each. The bicycles will be equipped with hi-tech Gprs, and anti-theft and vandalism systems.

 

The much-anticipated service will be supported by an additional 15 kilometres of cycle lanes and 2000 more bike rakes in the city centre.

 

In approving the initiative, which was proposed by Ataf and Firenze Parcheggi, officials spoke of the need for healthier, more efficient and environmentally friendly public transport in Florence. The total cost of the project is approximately 1.35 million euro, 300,000 euro of which will be funded by the city.

 

President of Ataf Firenze, Maria Capezzuoli, believes that ‘Florence’s city centre can easily be traveled by bicycle. This project is yet another important step in saving the city from more pollution and traffic from private vehicles’.

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