By Amalia Holub, ITDP Argentina
The city of Buenos Aires launched the first public bicycle system in Argentina on December 1, 2010. The pilot program will roll out in two phases; three stations and 100 bikes, followed by an increase of 500 bikes and 12 stations within the next three months. Once registered, users can take the bikes for free for up to two hours. After the pilot program, the city government aims to expand to a fully automated system of at least 5,000 bicycles. That level of coverage would truly transform Buenos Aires and give residents additional transportation options, getting more people out of their car and onto two non-polluting wheels.
The city’s bicycle program, Mejor en Bici, with help from ITDP, has been working hard to promote the use of bicycles as a means of transportation over the last year. A network of 100 kilometers (km) of protected bike lanes is underway, with 40 km already completed. Along with additional bike parking in public plazas, the city also recently passed a law that requires parking garages to accept bicycles and puts a cap on the amount they can charge per hour – just 10% of what they charge cars. Other initiatives include monthly bike rides for the whole family, which draw over 5,000 participants, and a bike-to-work program.