The City of Buenos Aires’ bike share program opened its newest station last week, bringing the system to nine stations and 200 bicycles. The system launched last December with just 3 stations and 100 bicycles but has quickly expanded. Bicing, as it is commonly referred to, has quickly become very popular in Buenos Aires – after only two and half months of operation the system has already logged over 15,000 trips. The unusual features of the system are key to its popularity – unlike many public bike systems, it is free and the bikes can be rented for up to two hours. This flexibility allows people to use the bikes to run errands or make short trips, even if there is not yet a station at their destination.
The uncommonly long time period during which the bikes can be used has translated to an average weekday trip length of 45 minutes, whereas on weekends users take bikes for an average of 74 minutes, showing a more recreational use. With over 4,000 registered users, the system averages 284 trips per weekday, 65% of which end at a different station.
ITDP has worked in collaboration with the city government on Bicing since the planning stages, providing communications and budgeting support, consulting on station location and size, as well as assessing the potential for fully automating the system in the future. Bike share is just one piece of the city’s Mejor en Bici (Better by Bike) program, which has already constructed more than 40 km of bike lanes of a planned total of 100 km by year’s end.