BlogCitiesLong term e-bike rental and bike sharing : 2 key steps to determine the size of your service
14 aprile 2022

Long term e-bike rental and bike sharing : 2 key steps to determine the size of your service

By Florence Orsini
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Now that you have decided to provide your residents with short and long term bike rentals, let's focus on how your project will operate and your network coverage.

Your network coverage refers to the number of bikes and parking spaces you wish to provide as part of your bike service. Deciding where your bike stations will be located is a separate task, which you can learn more about by reading our article on the subject here.

Once you have decided on the coverage, you can then start estimating your material investment costs. And we're off!

Step 1: Define the scope of the network

Here, it is important to reflect on a key question: what is the purpose of your bike network?

Do you want your services to reach a city or town centre only, the outer suburbs, or your entire area? 

Fifteen believes that the best possible option is to serve as big an area as possible, to achieve several objectives: 

  1. Create a public service that will genuinely include the entire population
  2. Promote a modal shift from driving to cycling over long distances, and thus reap the benefits of your cycling policy

While old bike sharing systems, mainly consisting of mechanical bikes, did not allow for extensive service coverage, electric bikes are a game changer. 

It is now possible to offer a cycling solution for areas located far from a city or town centre. 

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Electric bike station in the centre of Epinal. The city has decided to provide bike sharing access to town and villages in the area.

You can choose from several options:

  • Develop an ambitious electric bike sharing system
  • Combine an electric bike sharing system with a long term electric bike rental system
  • Opt for long term electrical bike rentals only

With the use of electric bikes, your system can replace commuting:

  1. Door to door: According to an Ademe study, someone who commutes to work on an electric bike travels an average of 7.6 km. Given that a third of workers' commute is less than 5 km (Source:Insee, National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), it is clear that a large proportion of these journeys could instead be completed on an electric bike.
  2. Multimodal transport options, thanks to interconnection with your public transport networks.

Our experts use a scientific approach based on open data, a scoring method and global evidence to design a service that will reap the most benefits in each area.

Step 2: Define the number of bikes and parking spaces

How many bikes do I need?

The number of bikes really depends on the number of residents in your area, its occupation density, and even how many tourists visit the area.

For a bike sharing service, on average we suggest a minimum of 1 bike per 300 residents. For highly populated towns and cities, we recommend 10 to 30 bikes per 1,000 residents. (Source: Cerema, 2019)

Bike sharing: how many parking spaces do I need to offer a high quality of service

A source of great satisfaction for our users is being able to find a bike, but also being able to park it easily! This can be achieved by providing enough parking spaces at each station.

According to CEREMA, the most efficient services in large and medium-sized towns and cities have an average of 2 to 2.5 parking spaces per bike, and a minimum of 1.8 for bike sharing systems in medium-sized towns and cities.

Should these recommendations be followed to the letter?

These ratios do not have to be applied for all towns and cities, and here's why:

  • Small towns and cities will have a completely different dynamic to larger ones
  • Old bike sharing services included in this study do not all have overflow systems (a station's ability to accommodate more bikes than they technically have room for).

Noted down everything you need to know about coverage? Let's now discover the next step in building your service: choosing where your stations are located in your area

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