BlogCitiesLong Term Bike Rentals: 3 reasons why it's ideal for sparsely populated areas
November 28, 2022

Long Term Bike Rentals: 3 reasons why it's ideal for sparsely populated areas

By Jessica Jones Langley
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Bike schemes are often thought of when designing a large city's transport network, but many don't think of bikes for sparsely populated regions.

Designing a transport network for every single resident will vary depending on the area. A city generally has access to money to invest in expensive transport networks with trains and/or buses. However, a region with less people generally has less funding for such ventures.

In this article we look at three key reasons why long-term bike-sharing rental schemes are an important component to any rural transport network.

1. The most affordable transport network

A train network is one way to provide access to transport for everyone. However train infrastructure can cost a lot. For example. the HS2 network cost £2 billion to build and maintain trains. While this project is likely to improve the transport network for people around the North West of the U.K., it's not ideal for low-density areas.

The common alternative to trains is a bus network. In comparison to trains, buses require less funding. For example, the Metrobus network in Bristol, cost £235 million. There are also other considerations to take into account, for example maintaining a team of bus drivers. 

The ultimate transport network when considering cost is certainly long term bike rentals. As illustrated below, the public investment is much lower compared to city cycle hire schemes. According to a study from ADEME, per kilometre travelled, long term rental is over 5 times less expensive - €0.10 vs. €0.56-1.35.

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Long term rental bike scheme offers incredible value for money, in comparison to city cycle hire schemes

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2. The ultimate transport network that connects everyone

To integrate everyone into society, all residents should have the means to travel to public services and employment. Most people will have a car but not everyone does drive. Around 50% of city residents drive, while 76% of rural residents make car trips (Source).

Long-term bike rentals can ensure that everyone has access to transport. While a bus or train network can service a majority of the population there will always be residents just outside the coverage area. Having a long-term bike rental ensures those people are able to get where they need to - or at least connect to other forms of transport.

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Bikes are not just for cities - regions can also benefit from offering a cycle scheme

3. A transport network which brings the most impact

A transport network does more than move people from A to B.  An inclusive transport network ensures that all have access to public services, education and/or employment.

A great example of a long-term rental scheme supporting an inclusive community is Free Velo'v. The fleet of 10,000 bikes ensures students get where they need to go. The free service which gives 18-25years old their independence is so popular that there is a waiting list.

Long term rentals also encourages a modal shift towards cycling. According to a study from ADEME, 30% of people using long-term-rental shifted to cycling, versus 17% of people using city cycle hire. Long term bike rental also encouraged less people to buy a car

Bikes also tackle climate change. Nearly 75% of all emissions within transport are generated on roads, so choosing a sustainable transport network is important. To achieve this, bikes are an important component. A French study by ADEME calculates a saving of 199kg CO2 saved annually per user. 

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