Feature: Bike-sharing program becomes big hit in Havana

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 7, 2019
Adjust font size:

by Raul Menchaca

HAVANA, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- A bike-sharing pilot program has become more popular than expected, said Naivys Diaz, head of the program which was launched on Nov. 24, 2018 in Havana's old quarter.

The short-term bike rental program is an initiative of the Office of the Historian of Havana and the Provincial Department of Transportation, in conjunction with Basque company Tecnalia, which donated 60 bicycles to the city of 2.5 million residents.

Diaz, who started her own business renting and repairing bicycles four years ago, said running the program was "an advantage, since both businesses complement each other."

Program members are required to pay a monthly fee of 60 Cuban pesos (about 2 U.S. dollars) to rent the bikes for an hour from 9:00 to 18:00, Tuesday through Sunday, while non-members pay 50 pesos to rent the bikes for each hour.

"We have about 200 members and we have had to stop new registrations because the demand is much higher than the offer, since there are only 60 bicycles," Diaz said.

There are seven docking stations around the old quarter, each with an attendant to rent out and receive the bikes. "That's where we differ from other countries where public bicycles are unattended," Diaz said. "People take and return the bikes with supervision."

About 70 more docking stations are expected to be opened in the city "to improve public transport, since urban cycling helps to alleviate the system, especially during the rush hours," said Guadalupe Rodriguez, an official of the Provincial Department of Transportation.

Bicycles were a mainstay in Cuban cities in the 1990s when Havana's public transport collapsed due to the shortage of fuel. With economic recovery, bicycles gradually disappeared from the urban landscape.

In recent years, to promote an alternative to public transportation, bike riders have organized group outings such as "Bicicletear La Habana" (Riding Through Havana) on the first Sunday of each month for a two-hour tour.

On June 3, 2018, the first-ever World Bicycle Day decreed by the United Nations brought several hundred Havana residents together for a more than 24-km ride, including Diaz and her employees, early proponents of bike riding. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter