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Updated 27 June 2013

Cape Town looks at bike share programme

The City of Cape Town will soon begin an investigation on the feasibility of a bike-share programme in the central city.

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 “Bike riding and non-motorised transport are important aspects of the vision of an integrated public transport network across the city, providing local connections and helping to make Cape Town a ‘liveable city’,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.

 The City will begin a study in July to determine whether or not it is feasible to launch a programme where bicycles are readily available for hire by members of the public. This would create a network of publicly available bicycles within defined areas in the city where people can hire a bicycle from one location and return it to any other location in the network.  

“Cities around the world are beginning to identify bike-sharing as a mode of public transport, providing an alternative to individual vehicle trips. Transport for Cape Town – the City’s recently launched transport authority – has commissioned an investigation on the feasibility of a bike-share service and to provide guidance on the best business model for our city.

“While we are inspired by services such as London’s Barclays Bikes, Paris’s Velib and Washington DC’s Capital Bikes, Cape Town is a city in a developing country with vastly different socio-economic circumstances. We need an operating model that will work here. The feasibility study will address the financial and operating structures that are available for us to implement best practice from the rest of the world locally,” said Councillor Herron.

 How it will work

The feasibility study will also consider whether a smartcard payment system, such as the myconnect card currently in operation on the MyCiTi buses, could be used for this project. This kind of electronic payment system would allow the City to monitor the use of the bicycles, to be able to make improvements to the system in the future.

A number of advantages and benefits to successful bike-share schemes have been identified, including the fact that the programme:

  • Improves the health and wellness of residents who are encouraged to increase physical activity;
  • Improves mobility and access for residents;
  • Provides improved connectivity between various transit modes and acts as a feeder service to motorised transit services;
  • Provides an affordable alternative to cars and other forms of public transport;
  • Boosts retail exposure and activity;
  • Reduces parking demands;
  • Reduces carbon emissions;
  • Reduces traffic congestion.

 “A Cape Town bike-share service should offer affordable access to bikes, especially for short distance trips. In conjunction with our expanding cycle lane network, a successful bicycle sharing service will reduce traffic congestion, the need for on-street parking, fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Obviously, cycling will also contribute to the health and well-being of our residents,” said Councillor Herron.

 

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