Through the Secretary of Conservation and Public Services (SCSP), the city of Fortaleza, Brazil will install over 40 bike stations for Fortaleza’s bike sharing program, “Bicicletar.” The announcement was made on Thursday July 16, during a news conference at the City Hall. The new stations will be installed in October of this year through March of 2016. With this installation, the city will double the number of stations from its current level.
To Mayor Roberto Cláudio, the use of bikes as a mode of transport requires a cultural change in the population. This includes decreasing the feeling of insecurity, increasing the relationship with public space, improving health, and collaborating to reduce gas emissions for the environment. “The bicycle is returning as more than just a form of recreation, but as a transportation mode.” People will use the bikes to go to work. This is already happening with a 75% increase of use on ciclovias and cycle lanes in the city and the integration of Bicicletar with the Bilhete Único” (the city’s metro pass).
According to a survey done by the city, the average number of trips taken on work days (1,850) is greater than those on the weekend (1,700). “The idea is to decentralize the bike stations over the next several years so that the city reduces its dependency on cars. If we begin to give people alternative transportation options that are safer, more comfortable, and faster, we will make it possible for them to leave their car at home,” it stated.
Sponsored by the company Unimed Fortaleza, the new bike sharing stations will come to several different neighborhoods of the city, such as Montese, Bom Futuro, Jardim América, Parreão, Fátima, Presidente Kennedy, São Gerardo, Luciano Cavalcante, Edson Queiroz, Cocó, Papicu, and Cidade 2000. “We connect the farthest west of Fortaleza to the farthest east, connecting four large university campuses -- Pici, Benfica, Instituto Federal, and Unifor -- in addition to some colleges along Washington Soares Avenue. We also reach workers who go through the Antônio Bezerra/Papicu corridor. We are stimulating a demand that already exists, but that will increase once the stations are installed,” noted the mayor.
According to the Executive Secretary of Conservation and Public Services, Luiz Alberto Sabóia, the new stations were chosen through a technical study by the Plan for Immediate Actions in Transport and Transit (Paitt). “We try to find regions that will attract the public for being commercial, offering services, being pillars of education, and job creators, moving the shift in population,” he stated.
The “Shared Bike Program” started in December of 2014 with the objective of incentivizing the use of bicycles as a means of transport and to contribute to sustainable mobility. The system is the most used in Brazil, proportionally to the number of stations installed. There are about 80 thousand registered users, 65% of which are through the Bilhete Único.
The President of Unimed Fortaleza, João Cândido, believes that the partnership between the company and the city has been a success. “We are very happy to be participating in the increase of the Bicicletar stations, sharing this contemporary management attitude of improving the city and the citizen life with greater health,” he said.
To use the system, those interested may register through the site www.bicicletar.com.br. During registration, the user will be able to choose between a daily plan (R$ 5), monthly plan (R$ 10), or annual plan (R$ 60). Bilhete Único users can utilize the system free of charge.
Membership grants unlimited usage within one hour. On Sundays and holidays, the time is extended to an hour and a half. In the case that the time limit is exceeded, there is an additional charge of R$ 5 per hour in excess. Therefore, if a person would like to continue using the bike and doesn’t want to incur the additional charge, there is the option to wait 15 minutes between the next usage. The service runs every day from 5 AM to 11:59 PM to take out a bike, and until midnight to return bikes.
Click here to see a presentation about Bicicletar.
Does your city have a bike share? How extensive is the station coverage area, and how much is it used for commuting? Share your thoughts and city’s stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.
Credits: Data and images linked to sources.