The Buenos Aires City Council took a positive step towards becoming a more sustainable city by approving legislation to create a public bicycle transport system. Replicating the Vélib system in Paris, which was awarded with the 2008 Sustainable Transport Award, the law establishes a city-wide bicycle rental system that also provides strategically-located bike stations. This law requiring ruling by the City Mayor, received the mayor’s support in less than a month, on January 8, 2008, Mauricio Macri, the Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, signed the decree to create the Public Bicycle Transport System (TPB).
An origin-destination study will be made to estimate the demand in order to determine the routes, station locations and total bikes needed. Current conceptual design includes user registration in order to obtain a special ID that allows the user to rent a bicycle. The stations will have information facilities, as well as provisions for emergency assistance. The law indicates that the minimum requirements for the bicycles include uniform design, license plates, dynamo-run lights, bell, brakes, lock, basket or similar, helmet, and a city map. The project also includes the construction of bicycle paths to ensure users safety as well as new high quality public spaces. Bike-oriented signalization should also be put in place.
Even though the law encourages the city to give the operation of the system to a private concessionaire (at a minimum of five years), the government may obtain loans or ask the national government for resources to set up the system. ITDP will be providing technical assistance to the City of Buenos Aires to implement the “Public Bicycle Transport System”.
The spirit of the law is to promote a healthy, low-cost and environmentally friendly transportation alternative for people who want to avoid the increasing traffic congestion. The government also recognizes the need to integrate bicycles into the public transportation system. Specifically, bicycles should be used to bring people to the mass transit system, including the subway, metropolitan train and buses. Therefore, secure bike parking and/or TPB stations is needed near other mass transit stops.