Bike sharing now a reality

8,000 bikes at the ready, all with an app

Editorial Staff
July 5, 2017 - 14:26

Transportation in the historical city center just got a bit more inclusive. The City of Florence has announced their initiative to import 8,000 bikes into the city, for an extensive bike-sharing program, beginning July 24.

 

The “free flow” program does not require fixed bike stations where users must pick up and drop off the bike. Instead, this will allow users to reserve bikes through an app, which identifies the nearest available bike through GPS. Once reserved, riders are free to use it for as long as they’d like and to take it anywhere. When they’ve finished using the bike, they need only leave it in the nearest bike rack, making sure to lock it.

 

The updated bike-sharing initiative will ensure a wider reach for users compared to the previous program, which included 65 locking stations and only 975 bicycles. The Smart City Assessor Giovanni Bettarini explained that the system, “thanks to georeferencing, guarantees greater flexibility, lower costs and more efficiency, involving just minor costs for management and maintenance compared to the fixed stations model. All this without the need for advertising and with the advantage that users can get to exactly where they need to go.”

 

The program’s technology is managed completely autonomously on the part of the user, who can visualize available bikes in the area, reserve one, unlock it at the beginning of use and relock it at the end, make payments, and signal maintenance issues or misuse by other users, all through the accompanying smartphone app.

 

The City of Florence maintains that this is just the first phase of their plans, though little has been said about future growth. What is sure, however, is that bikes for children and for families are already being requested. Councilwoman Mariam Amato stated, “There is a wish for bikes equipped with children’s seats and bikes for children who are a bit older: the bike-sharing program must be a service available to everyone and an alternative to those who move about the city with toddlers and children.”

 

The service will be available every day, 24 hours a day.

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