Public bike rental inauguration falls flat

Technical glitches hinder a service that Madrid City Hall had been promising since 2009

A BiciMad docking station in Madrid. / EL PAÍS

Technical glitches put a damper on the inauguration of Madrid’s public rental bike service on Monday.

The BiciMad network has 1,560 electric bicycles scattered across 123 docking stations within the city center. Yet the only bikes that actually circulated through the streets of the capital were the 70 units that the city lent reporters, cycling associations and experts for the day.

“Today is the day,” said Mayor Ana Botella on Monday morning, as she became one of the first people to pedal from City Hall to Retiro Park. “Madrid is inaugurating its public bicycles.”

The mayor had described the computer system as “easy, intuitive and very easy to use”

But the truth is, many stations were still not operational, while others did not have bicycles. At other stations, customers found blocked screens when they attempted to purchase the membership card that is required to use the service. The screens that did appear to work were extremely slow, and ultimately also froze up before completing the customer’s request.

Bonopark, the company that was awarded the city contract to run the network, told EL PAÍS that the “huge” demand from users had affected its computers and slowed them down. “We are working to get that fixed,” said a spokesperson, without offering a date. The Navarre-based company will receive €25 million from the city of the Madrid over the next decade.

City sources said that around 600 people had registered throughout the morning. By the end of the day there were more than 1,000, according to Bonopark, which did not specify what volume its computers are prepared to deal with.

The location of the bike stations in Madrid.

Madrid has a population of 3,215,633. Bicycle use has tripled since 2006, although it still represents less than one percent of all trips on wheels.

The plan to bring public rental bikes to Madrid had been announced by former mayor (and current justice minister) Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón in 2009, but delays kept pushing it back. While the city has joined the game late, it is still aiming for a record: to be the first European capital with a system based on electric bikes.

Public rental bikes were “the missing piece of the puzzle” in Madrid’s urban mobility policy, according to Botella, who described the computerized registration system as “easy, intuitive and very easy to use.”

On day one of the service, however, it was anything but that.

Y ADEMÁS...

Para poder comentar debes estar registrado en Eskup y haber iniciado sesión

Darse de alta ¿Por qué darse de alta?

Otras noticias

Últimas noticias

Ver todo el día

“Si las instituciones ayudan a Carmen atenderemos otras causas”

El Rayo, incómodo por la repercusión mediática de su gesto solidario, anuncia la creación de una fila cero para respaldar a la vecina desahuciada “si de verdad lo necesita”

Hallados los cuerpos de once jóvenes decapitados en Guerrero

Otras 14 personas murieron en la localidad en dos choques entre bandas rivales en julio

Nuestra mesa, víctima silenciosa del cambio climático

Cada vez más latinoamericanos están modificando su dieta en función de los granos que han sobrevivido la degradación del suelo

Conexión en directo con la Valencia de 1982

Un libro recupera el fanzine 'Estricnina', en el que el periodista Rafa Cervera reflejó la naciente escena valenciana de los 80

LATIN AMERICA

Venezuelan opposition leader faceing plot charges

María Corina Machado is accused of trying to eliminate President Nicolás Maduro to pave the way for a coup

Kirchner supporters attack judge investigating president’s hotel firm

Argentinean state imposes $350 fine on company for irregularities

Moral light of Mexico’s left walks out on party he founded

Jan Martínez Ahrens Mexico City

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas disagrees with current leaders of the PRD

President Peña Nieto’s reforms fail to loosen Mexico’s credit market

Only one in four small and midsize companies receives financing

Lo más visto en...

» Top 50

Webs de PRISA

cerrar ventana