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The first summer of Hyvinkää’s city bike pilot was a success despite the coronavirus

News 2021-08-02 at 13:51
 

The city's goal in the Canemure project is to promote low-carbon mobility solutions. The city, which belongs to the municipalities of Hinku and Fisu, has its own sustainable mobility programme until 2030. Concrete actions include shared bikes and city bike pilots.

“Our two-year city bike pilot started in April, but it was preceded by a shared bike trial with companies in the area”, says Toni Jokela, Transport Planner of the City of Hyvinkää. In the pilot, Konecranes and Hyvinkää Hospital both had ten shared bikes at their disposal.

City bikes suitable for everyone at 20 stations

There were 60 city bikes available to the residents of Hyvinkää throughout the summer. The pilot was kick-started agilely and on a low threshold. “That's why we chose basic three-speed bikes that are suitable for everyone and easy to maintain”, Jokela says.

There were 20 bike stops with just a concrete barrier and a sign placed around the city centre and some in the surrounding urban areas. “We assumed that the bike trips would mainly run between certain urban areas and the city centre. Almost all trips were made to the railway station.”

Hyvinkää has 250 kilometres of bike paths, but the number of city bikes was limited. Therefore, some of the urban areas were left without a bike stop. The city residents were asked for feedback, and the city reacted to it quickly. “We received feedback on language choices, among other things, and Finnish was added to the application during the summer”, Jokela says.

Every month, the city bike service provider also produced a report on the number of trips made and the most popular stops, as well as where the users searched for a stop, even though there was none. “During the summer, the number of stops was increased to 24, and one of the new stops was next S-market Vehkoja, according to the residents' wishes.”

In some locations, the popularity of the bikes surprised also Jokela. “For example, there is not even a shop in Talvisilta anymore, and yet it was the most popular bike stop in a couple of months. By contrast, in some urban areas that were estimated to be busy, only a few bikes were used.”

There were also differences in the way the stops were used. One of the most used stops was the Kirjavatolppa residential area two kilometres from the city centre. “However, it was only one-way traffic: there was a lot of cycling to the area, but just a few trips from the area.”

Successful experiment despite the coronavirus

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the timing of the pilot was not optimal. There were fewer people moving around the city and fewer urban events organised, so bikes were used less than in a normal situation. Jokela is still satisfied with the results of the first city bike summer. “The number of users increased throughout the summer, and an average of one trip per day was made on each bike at the end of July.”

Another good sign was that people rented bikes mostly with a one-time fee in April but with a seasonal fee later in the summer. “So, the first user experiences were good”, Jokela says with a smile. On the positive side, only one bike was vandalised during the summer.

Next, Hyvinkää is making plans for the coming summer, when the collection of feedback will continue. “The aim is to make the bike stations look more permanent, and if we can get companies involved, the number of stops and bikes will increase”, Jokela says.

In 2021, the City of Hyvinkää will also tender the city bike system. At the same time, e-bikes are being considered. “They could be a logical solution for village centres further away.”

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