Bicycle Network: Bikes 'n' Bits
Melbourne public bike share scheme
Melbourne is home to Australia's first large-scale public bikes hire scheme. Simon Vincett takes an exclusive look at what it may mean for you.
How will it work?
The 50 Melbourne Bike Share stations will be about 500 metres apart and spread across central Melbourne, from the Alfred Hospital in the south to the University of Melbourne in the north (a 6km ride),and from Docklands in the west to the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the east (a 5km ride). There are also options to use 11 alternative locations, such as the Melbourne Zoo.
Melbourne Bike Share is funded by the State Government's $38b State Transport Plan. It is designed to integrate with the existing public transport system. There will be stations at Flinders Street, Southern Cross, Melbourne Central, Flagstaff, Parliament and Jolimont train stations and tram stop hubs as well, such as the St Kilda Road and Domain Road interchange. Fees are designed to be lower than public transport ticket prices, and structured to encourage short trips (less than half an hour).
The operators say it should take no more than two minutes to buy your daily or weekly subscription at a bike station and hire your bike: you swipe your credit card, which pays for your subscription and records your details for security, and receive a printout of a code to enter in the keypad of the dock of the bike you want to hire. For subsequent hires within the day or week, you swipe your credit card,your active subscription is confirmed and you receive another code to use for another bike.
You cannot pay by cash or a debit card and there is a maximum of two bikes that can be hired from any one credit card in a 24-hour period.
Annual subscribers register online and are given a key which unlocks a bike directly from any dock and records the hire.
Ride On magazine featured a story on the hire scheme in the April-May 2010 edition. Bicycle Network members can read the full article.
More information on public bike hire schemes.