We have spoken about the public bike rental services offered in several European cities but as it seems that people love comparisons (better with neighbors), the Catalan newspaper El Periódico has written an article comparing two of these European projects (there are others in Vienna and Paris in a few days) involving this new means of public transport. To summarize how this works: You get a card, pay a certain fee and then you have at your disposal a lot of bicycles in certain spots in your city to get around and return at another spot near your destination.
First of all, El Periódico criticises the lower number of bikes available in Barcelona compared to Lyon. Whereas the Catalan city is struggling to finalise the deployment of 3,000 bikes and 200 stations, Lyon has 4,000 bikes and 300 stations. Barcelona's population is also almost four times the size of Lyon (1.6 million vs. 417,000). Paris' plans are to have 20,000 bikes at 1,450 stations for a 2.1 million population.
There is also a detailed comparison between the two bike models. In this aspect, the model in Barcelona is less sophisticated, but it turns out to be 8 kg lighter than Lyon's (16.8 kg compared to 25.2). The anchoring system for the used bikes is also better in Lyon, and the service is available 24 hours a day, compared to the more uncomfortable system and less availability in Barcelona (the same as the subway system).
Note that both systems are managed by advertising companies. Barcelona's by Clear Channel (a US company) and Lyon's by JCDecaux (French).
- Paris launching citywide bike rentals (and they're cheap!)
- Bicing makes biking popular in Barcelona with 30,000 users in 2 months