Ridwan Kamil has had a good few years. In 2011, he was the driving force behind the opening of Indonesia’s first bike share program, Bike.bdg, in Bandung, and in June 2013, he was elected Mayor of Bandung. Mayor Kamil is now looking to expand on these successes and improve the bike share system, bringing it on par with the most successful systems in the region.
Bike Share Beginnings
Bike.bdg opened in November, 2011, thanks to great effort and support by the city’s cycling enthusiasts, alumni of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), and local organizing group, the Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF). Local architect and social activist Ridwan Kamil gathered these groups and convinced the city to implement a new transportation system in the city. The capital of West Java, Bandung is the third largest city in Indonesia, and a significant cultural center.
The bike share system, though popular, has been somewhat limited by its ‘first generation’ design. Bike.bdg opened with 10 stations spread from north to south across Bandung, each with 15 bicycles available. The stations are manually operated, with a staff member present to sign in and out all bikes and give out information. For a flat fee of IRD 3,000/hr (roughly 25 cents, USD), users can borrow the bike for as long as they choose, but they must leave their ID card with the staff member until the bike is returned. All Bike.bdg bikes are branded, with a blue and white color scheme, but have no special design features.
Car-free Sunday morning, in the Dago area, is the most popular time to use the bike share. Bandung residents use the bikes near constantly on the weekends for recreation and errands. However, due to the system design, the bikes are significantly underused during the week. Because bikes must be returned to the station they originated from, they have limited use for commuting, and the flat fee encourages those who do use the bike to keep it for long stretches of time, minimizing turnover. Furthermore, with only 10 original, spread out stations, trips between them were lengthy and impractical. Today, the system has downgraded to only 3 stations.
Every Sunday, Bandung residents enjoy car free day, where they are free to walk and cycle through the city.
The Future of Bandung’s Bike Share
With a background in social activism and city planning, Ridwan Kamil’s election to Mayor of Bandung promised a shift toward sustainable transit in the city. Currently, ITDP is planning to work with Bandung to identify and design a BRT corridor. And Mayor Kamil remains committed to bike share, responding to ITDP’s offer for potential technical assistance in designing a new, expanded and improved bike share system for Bandung, subject to funding availability for ITDP to assist Bandung.
ITDP Indonesia recommended using Shenzhen, China’s ‘third generation’ bike share as a model for Bandung’s new system. A fully automatic system, new stations would each have 20 bikes and be located in a dense network, to increase the ease of commuting. Bikes would be designed with no chains, to reduce theft, and be extremely durable, to reduce maintenance and replacement costs. ITDP recommended installing between 100 and 150 stations.
As Bandung continues to work out details of the system, such as choosing contractors for the system technology and the bikes themselves, ITDP is planning to provide greater support and advice. For example, ITDP recommends that Bandung use an experienced system manufacture for the new system. In addition, ITDP staffers recently conducted a preliminary site visit to weigh in on the placement of future bike share stations. ITDP will also invite a few bike sharing experts, such as Bradley Schroeder, to Bandung to share how to operate bike share from the business and management angle.
ITDP is currently seeking funding to support its activity to help Bandung develop the first bike sharing system in Indonesia. The road to a better bike share is not been easy, but plans for the new system continue moving forward. Other cities in Indonesia, from Jakarta to Surakata (Solo), are following Bandung’s lead and considering bike share systems of their own. And thanks to Mayor Kamil’s vision and leadership, biking in Bandung has a bright future.