Bike sharing to become an extension of Prague public transport
“An extension of Prague’s public transport” – this is how representatives of Nextbike, the largest national self-service bicycle company, talk about their upcoming project with the city administration.
According to them, Prague could become the first Czech city in which public transport tickets will include bicycle sharing.
According to Tomáš Karpov, COO of Nextbike, every Lítačka owner could simply unlock a bike to get to their destination faster and for free.
“At the moment, we are negotiating with the city of Prague company Operátor ICT and the city PID. We discuss the technical feasibility of the idea. But if it worked, it would be great for the Praguers. I would like to point out that the Lítačka could then be used to unlock bikes even from competitors of our company, ”explains Karpov.
“Nextbike is already present in 23 cities in the Czech Republic, including Prague. In addition, we are counting on the support of municipal administrations in nineteen of them. It’s about how something similar would work in Prague, ”said Adam Scheinherr, deputy mayor for transport.
Tábor, a town in South Bohemia, illustrates how functional and useful such a system can be. The city pays the company money to give local citizens the first fifteen minutes of the ride for free.
It works the same in Ostrava or Mladá Boleslav. “In the case of Tábor, the whole city can be crossed in fifteen minutes, so the system is extremely beneficial there. In the case of large cities, the self-service bicycle works as an extension of public transport, ”Karpov describes.
However, the idea of including shared bicycles in the public transport system is already criticized by the people of Prague. In early August, due to fare changes, passengers accustomed to using single tickets when traveling by public transport will pay a supplement. The half-hour ticket will now cost 30 crowns instead of 24, and the 90-minute ticket will now cost 40 crowns. Some think their money would pay for other people’s bike rides.
“Of course, the amount the city gives to Nextbike will be deducted from the price of the tickets. So, will I personally pay to have someone rent a bike? Tomáš Löbl writes on PID’s Facebook. He is not alone in his criticism. “I also see it as a back door in the city budget. Let Prague take care of high quality public transport and let people pay for bikes out of pocket, ”writes Patrik Chrz.