City bikes to be stored for the winter soon – new season to start in May 2017

The first city bike season is about to end. The bikes will be available until 31 October and then tucked away until the beginning of the next season in May 2017.

Kaupunkipyörillä on tehty yli 400 000 matkaa ja ajettu yli 700 000 kilometriä.

City bike users have taken over 400,000 rides, pedaling over 700,000 kilometers. Photo by Lauri Eriksson

The first season of the city bike scheme has been a success: residents and visitors have taken over 400,000 rides, pedaling over 700,000 kilometers. HKL and HSL together with their partners want to thank all city bike customers and wish them welcome to use the expanded city bike service next year. Registration will open in April 2017. The current season subscribers will be contacted in the spring and offered the opportunity to renew their subscriptions for the next season.

Customers can register as city bike users in advance at hsl.fi/citybikes. In addition, five bike stations have payment terminals allowing customers to register on the spot. During the first season, over 10,000 riders registered for the whole season. Nearly 10,000 people registered for one day and over 2,000 for a week. The most popular city bike stations have been Itämerentori, Töölönlahdenkatu, Kamppi Metro Station, Opera and Baana. The use rate of the bikes has been high: each bike has been used five to six times a day

All passes – day, week or whole season – cover up to 30 minutes of free bike use at a time. If you exceed the time, you will be charged a small extra fee for every additional 30 minutes. There has been some confusion about the time limits in particular among the day-pass users. Information about time limits and payments is available on the city bike website and in the terms of use.

In September/Octobers, customers were able to register for the rest of the season at a reduced rate, 15 euros. The cost for the whole season is usually 25 euros. The registration fee for one day has been 5 euros and for a week 10 euros. HKL has collected over 400,000 euros in registration fees and user charges. HKL’s Board of Directors will set the fees for the next season during the winter.

In mid-October, a new feature was introduced in the system, allowing returns at full stations. If a bike station is full, customers can return bikes right next to it, locking them with the lock cable. When returning a bike at a full station, customers need to be careful and ensure that the bike is properly returned and not just locked for a break.

During the summer, HKL conducted a customer survey according to which the city bikes are part of residents’ daily travel, making daily journeys easier and faster. Most people said they use the bikes for leisure journeys, over 50 per cent also for commutes. A total of 60 per cent of the users regularly combine city bikes with public transport. The bikes enable more efficient access to other modes of public transport.

Most of the users say they ride city bikes one to five times a week. Most people gave the different parts of the city bike service a grade of four on a scale of one to five.

The planning of the extension of the service next summer is underway. During the summer, residents had the opportunity to have their say on the location of new bike stations via a survey. Over 1,100 people responded to the survey. Train stations, such as Pasila and Käpylä and utilizing short cuts leading to the stations were highlighted in the responses. Popular locations for bike stations included Hernesaaren ranta, Punavuori and Merihaka.

Next year, the number of city bikes stations and bike will triple and the service will be available for an increasing number of users. The expansion of the bike system will also improve the service level and accessibility of public transport. “We expect the number of users to increase significantly when the area covered by the system is expanded, enabling longer rides,” says HKL Project Manager Samuli Mäkinen.

The Helsinki city bike system with 500 bikes and 49 bike station was opened in May 2016. Next year the number of bikes will increase to 1,500 and that of stations to 150. City bikes are shared use bicycles that can be borrowed by anyone in central Helsinki. They are part of the public transport trip chain and support sustainable mobility.

HKL is responsible for the city bike service. The service is maintained by CityBike Finland. Sales of advertising space is at the responsibility of ClearChannel and the main partner in cooperation is HOK Elanto. HSL is responsible for the city bike website at hsl.fi/citybikes and the city bike functionality of the Journey Planner.

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