Tuesday, 16 February 2010
40% of passengers on Dutch trains arrived at the railway station by bike. This makes it impractical to allow people to all take their bikes on the trains, especially at rush hour. In this way, cycling is a victim of its own success. One of the solutions to the problem is the OV-Fiets.
The Dutch shared bike scheme, OV-Fiets, is a bit unlike most bike share schemes in that it operates with public transport. OV stands for "Openbaar Vervoer" which is Dutch for "Public Transport."
These bikes are available at 200 locations around the country, including almost all railway stations. The idea is that they are used by commuters. An annual subscription costs just €9.50 per year, and then it costs €2.85 to hire a bike for a day. This can be a maximum of 20 hours - the idea being that it is not for tourists - though virtually every railway station also has normal hire bikes available.
OV-Fiets bikes are always either under the roof of the railway station bike shop or in the possession of someone who has hired the bike. I suspect this keeps the vandalism rate well down in comparison with some other bike share schemes. However, they are also available from lockers or even "bike dispenser" vending machines at some locations.
Anyway, the video shows the 400 OV-Fiets bikes which are currently in Vancouver in Canada for the use of Dutch athletes during the winter Olympics. It's a bit odd in that people are wearing fluorescent jackets, and even helmets... but the prime minister doesn't bother even though they're compulsory.
On to the Olympics. The photo shows Sven Kremer signing a golden OV-Fiets after winning the gold medal for the 5000 m ice skating race yesterday. He set a new Olympic record time of 6:14.60.
And talking of ice-skating... It's still pretty cold here. People have been skating on the canals, and velomobiling on lakes too...
I previously covered the amusing advertising for OV-Fiets. The video is another from Mark Wagenbuur. There are also vending machines just for innertubes rather than a whole bike.