Copenhagen is under pressure to deliver the city bikes it promised would be available on the streets by the end of the summer, reports Ingeniøren.
Last October, the city decided not to renew the contract with the old city bike manufacturer, leaving the city without a viable loanable bicycle network. But a month later, and following heavy criticism, the city announced that it had joined a new city bike project together with national rail operator DSB and Frederiksberg Council, reminiscent of programmes found in Paris and London.
Copenhagen's city bikes will be even more sophisticated than the Paris and London systems, where commuters and tourists can rent bikes by signing up with a credit card that is charged according to the amount of time the bicycle is rented for. Copenhagen's bikes will also include GPS and tablet computers integrated into them that will be powered by batteries hidden within the frame. It will be a marked departure from the old bikes that could only be rented by inserting a coin like a supermarket trolley.
The contract for 1,260 city bikes was signed between non-profit organisation Cykel DK and bike company GoBike, which is contracted to deliver all the bikes by the end of 2013.
But while some of the bikes were expected to be delivered this summer, Ingeniøren now reports that the production of the bikes and the 1,890 docking stands has not even begun.
According to GoBike's CEO, Torben Aagaard, they have only just signed a contract with a new manufacturer in Germany after buying the rights to the bicycle from the Spanish company that designed them.
Speaking to Ingeniøren, Aagaard denied that the decision to sign with a new manufacturer would have any impact on whether the bikes would be delivered on time.
“It became pretty clear to the involved parties that the most effective way to proceed was to buy the rights to the production of both the bikes and the charging stands,” Aagaard said. “We have great ambitions for the bicycle, such as integrating a tablet computer into the handlebars, which was not included in the original plans. As a result we needed to modify our charging stations.”
Aagaard added that a Danish company has won the contract to produce the docking stations, though he wouldn’t reveal which one.
According to Ingeniøren, only 50 bicycles will be ready by the summer, though this is 50 more than had been imagined after Copenhagen last year failed to find the 114 million kroner to continue the city bike programme. The city eventually found one year’s worth of funding for the new city bike project.
“The old bicycles were designed for tourists while the new bicycles are designed more for commuters,” city spokesperson Søren Bom told Berlingske newspaper. “Some tourists may end up lacking a bike this summer, but they can always rent one until the new city bikes are ready.”
Councils around the capital have shown great interest in the new city bike programme as a means to urge their residents to use more public transport. When the new programme is rolled out, commuters will be able to reserve a bicycle at a train station that they can then use to bicycle on to their destination.