Public E-Bike System
The former bike sharing scheme (called LPAbike) was not aligned with the goals and objectives of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan of the city.
It was a well-meaning attempt to foster urban cycling but it was not as successful as expected due to some obstacles and barriers (lack of integration with other sustainable mobility policies or measures, lack of vision and alignment with the overall goals of the city in terms of sustainable mobility, technological problems, etc.).
Thanks to CIVITAS DESTINATIONS Las Palmas de Gran Canaria overcame these problems and came up with a brand new bike sharing scheme (called Sítycleta).
Implementing sustainable mobility
First of all, the Municipality of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Sagulpa assessed the problems of the former bike sharing scheme and defined a strategy to come up with a brand new system.
To do so, the Municipality and Sagulpa analysed the following issues:
- Which are the main goals of the existing planning tools such as the SUMP? How can a bike sharing scheme contribute to the vision, goals and objectives of the SUMP?
- Which are the main needs and requirements of the key target groups (youngsters, tourists, elderly people, women, etc.)?
- Which effective package of measures is necessary to boost urban cycling in the city?
- Which Departments or Areas within the Municipality should be involved in the project?
- Benchmarking (collection of best practices in medium-sized European cities).
After that initial assessment it was clear that new digital-based mobility services would help to integrate the new bike sharing scheme into the overall urban mobility system. Moreover, both Sagulpa and the Municipality identified the data generated by the new bike sharing scheme as an opportunity to improve mobility management in the city.
Taking all these previous issues into account, the technical specifications and service requirements for the new bike sharing scheme were defined. Finally, Sagulpa carried out a feasibility study to determine the potential of the new bike sharing scheme. Among the risks of this measure, it is worth mentioning the proceedings of the city council to obtain the approval of the service, since a new fare scheme was established.
Once approved by the Municipality and the key local stakeholders, Sagulpa prepared the tender documentation (logistical support service, maintenance and installation of the new bike stations). The tender process was launched in June 2016 and was awarded to Next Bike in January 2017 (the equipment was finally delivered in December 2017).
The Sítycleta was launched in April 2018 and after 3 months all stations had been deployed.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria launched the new bike sharing scheme in April 2018. The Sítycleta is a digital-based mobility service with the following characteristics:
- 375 conventional smart bikes with an on-board computer that connects with the central servers by GSM. The bicycles have a small solar panel that supplies electrical power to the computer.
- 20 e-bikes to carry out a pilot test to promote cycling between the hilly and the low part of the city.
- 2 accessible bikes for the physically impaired.
- 42 new stations (5 of them are smart totems placed at touristic hotspots and offer real time information).
- 520 anchor points/bike racks.
- 35 solar-powered smart signs.
In addition, the system uses a technology that follows the standards of wireless communication (WIFI, GSM and 3G). The service is available in several languages from 7 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week.
The Sítycleta users’ profile after 9 months of operation is the following:
- Over 21,600 users and a record of over 1.000 rides per day was reached in February 2020.
- Average travel time: 21 minutes.
- Peak hours between 12.00 am and 6.00 pm.
The data gathered (origin and destination stations of each trip, users’ profile, etc.) allows Sagulpa to continuously improve the system, ensuring a proper availability of bicycles at the stations, rescheduling maintenance operations to focus on the favourite routes and stations, etc.
The main goal of this measure is to achieve a better urban mobility by increasing the number of urban trips by bicycles made by citizens as well as tourists. Therefore, the expected result is to have an accessible bike sharing scheme taking into account the specific needs of the more vulnerable target groups such as elderly people, physical impaired, etc. in order to make sustainable mobility more appealing and foster a model shift.
After one year in service the Sítycleta has reached most of its objectives:
- A safer and flexible bike system. The bikes are more resistant (the equipment can cope with Las Palmas’ salty air) and safer (the bikes are equipped with an on-board GPS device that allows tracking and location).
- An improvement of the urban space. The stations are integrated in the urban environment and enhance the attractiveness of the public space.
- An integrated vision. The Sítycleta implementation has been coordinated with some other actions to enhance its effectiveness. The new stations are better connected with the cycling network and are pretty much oriented to foster multi-modality.
- A touristic attraction. An average of 20% of the users are tourists.
- An accessible sharing scheme for everyone. The annual fee (40 Euros) is the most successful fee amongst the registered users (40% of the overall users). Besides this, 15% of the users have selected a monthly fee and 14% a weekly fee.
- A digital mobility solution. 80% of the members use the Sítycleta app to rent a bike.