The popular city bike service will expand in 2018. In Helsinki, the city bike season will start earlier than before in response to customer feedback. The bikes will hit the streets in April; the exact time depends on the weather and when the spring clean-up of streets is completed. There will be 70 bike stations in Espoo. As setting up bike stations takes some time, the city bike season will begin on 2 May in Espoo.
The city bike services of the two cities will operate in an integrated way. Customers register with one system and pay a season pass fee. The bikes can be used for rides between cities, from Espoo to Helsinki and vice versa. From May 2018, customers can return bikes at any city bike station in Helsinki or Espoo. Users can use the service as before but in a wider area. There will in total 2,200 bikes at 150 bikes stations in Helsinki and 70 stations in Espoo.
“Existing bike stations will be optimized and rack capacity allocated more evenly between the stations. Some racks will be moved to better locations. There will be some minor changes as well as a couple of major relocations of stations,” says Samuli Mäkinen, Project Manager at Helsinki City Transport.
There may be minor changes to the locations of some bike stations.
City bikes provide easy access to metro stations in Espoo
In Espoo, the 70 city bike stations will be located along the metro line, providing a feeder mode to the metro stations. The City of Espoo will decide on extending the system to Leppävaara in February. The extension would involve 35 new city bike stations.
“When planning the station network, we have taken into account access to the public transport network and cycling network, housing and employment areas, recreational areas as well as shopping centers and services. A map survey conducted to collect residents’ suggestions for bike station locations provided important input into the planning,” says Johanna Nyberg, the head of traffic management at the City of Espoo.
The network map shows the indicative locations of the bike stations. The final locations will be determined later, taking into account space requirements, for example.
Whole season for 30 euros
Due to the expansion of the service, the fee for the full season will increase by five euros. This year, the fee for the full season from April (from May in Espoo) to the end of October is 30 euros. Otherwise prices will remain unchanged. A day pass costs five euros, a weekly pass ten euros. After the first 30 minutes, customers pay one euro per 30 minutes for uninterrupted use of a bike. The maximum time of use is five hours at a time. HKL’s Board of Governors and the Technical Services Committee of the City of Espoo decided the fees on 24 January.
Once the season is over, revenue from the service will be divided between HKL and Espoo in proportion to the number of journeys made in each city. In 2017, HKL received about 1.2 million euros in revenue from the city bike service, making the service self-supporting, i.e. the income and expenses were nearly equal.
Better digital services, registration to open in mid-March
Last summer, HSL conducted a usability evaluation of the digital services of the city bike system. In addition, a customer survey was conducted at the end of the season. On the basis of these studies and customer feedback, HSL decided to redesign the hsl.fi/citybikes service.
“Our goal is an even clearer and understandable service where customers can easily find the information they need. The passes available, prices and locations of bike stations will be presented more clearly. When a customer registered for the city bike service logs in using their HSL account, a customized city bike page will open with information about their personal use of the service,” explains Tarja Jääskeläinen, Senior Loyalty Scheme Designer at HSL. Registration for the full season is scheduled to open in mid-March. In addition, city bikes will be included in the new HSL app. The first version of the app will be published during the late winter.
In 2017, the city bike service was extremely popular in Helsinki. During the season, a total of 1.6 million journeys were pedalled on the bikes. On the busiest days, each bike was used on average 11 times, which is a remarkably high figure in international comparison.
The service received several awards in 2017.