7 February 2011

Bicycle sharing rental scheme in Rome

Bicycle sharing scheme is an ingenious initiative which is in use in many cities around the world.  It has an environmental message in that it tries to encourage the use of shared bicycles as a mode of transport and tries to dissuade the use of cars particularly within the congested city centres.  The bicycle sharing scheme in Rome was introduced in 2008.  Bicycles can be rented from many central points within the city of Rome.  The users have to register first and acquire what is known as a "smart card" and then there is an additional surcharge or deposit which needs to be paid before one is able to rent a bicycle. 

Figure 1: A photograph of one of the bicycles ready to be rented out.

Figure 2:  A close up photograph of the bicycle sharing drop off stands.

 Figure 3:

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Figure 5:

After a quick search on the internet, I came across the following article which was published in "The Telegraph" which is an English daily newspaper.  In the article entitled, "Rome launches bicycle-sharing scheme" by James Owen, Mr Owen states that, "Tourists and Romans alike are being urged to join a new bicycle-sharing scheme in an attempt to reduce congestion and smog in Italy's capital. 

About 200 distinctive red bicycles have been distributed at 19 stands across the city's historic centre. Locations include the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.

As in Paris, where a similar system is in place, anyone wanting to use the bicycles must leave a deposit of 30 euros (£23.75) at one of seven information points, including Termini station, to entitle them to a smart card that unlocks the bikes and stores credit. Subscription is also available online at
The cost of using the bicycles is deliberately being kept low. The first half hour is free and every half hour thereafter, up to a maximum of four hours, costs 1 euro (80p). Bicycles can be picked up and returned to different stands at any time between 7am and 11pm. Their whereabouts and the number available is monitored by a GPS tracking device and their use is prohibited outside Rome itself.

More than 20 cities in Italy have bicycle-sharing schemes, although it remains to be seen whether visitors will feel brave enough to cycle in the capital. Rome's motorists are not noted for their courtesy to cyclists."

I ought to add that since the launch of the initiative in 2008, the bicycles are no longer a "distinctive red" colour as Mr Owen states but are now green coloured.  As well, I can provide one other website for the bicycle sharing initiative which I gleaned from the February 2011 edition of "Un Ospite a Roma - A guest in Rome" publication and that is, additional information can also be obtained from the following telephone number in Rome 06 57003   
 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
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