Well, sort of! One of the smaller municipalities on the edge of the city (Bemowo) has instituted its own bike sharing programme. This part of the city has tons of separated bike paths and is very close to Kampinos National Park, which also has lots of bike paths.
One of our favorite things to do when visiting European cities is to check out their bike sharing programmes. So far Vienna and Seville have been our favorites, as they were just easy to use for tourists as residents. Berlin and its Call-a-Bike, run through the national train system, is a close second.
But it is so encouraging to see bike sharing in our current home-town of Warsaw! The cycling culture is certainly catching on quick! My Polish is not so good, but the programme seems simple and rather low cost to both the user and the operator. It shows how these programmes don’t have to be high-tech or resource intensive.
You need to register online for 10 zl (less than $3USD) and connect your account to a card to act as a deposit. When you arrive at the bike station, call the hotline listed on the bike to retrieve the code that will unlock the bike. (Don’t forget it, because you can use it to lock the bike up during any stops along your ride). The first 20 minutes are free, up to an hour costs 2 zl and after that the hourly rate is 4 zl. You’ll need to call the hotline when returning it, as well, to one of the 10 stations that boast a total of 100 bikes.
The only thing we are not quite sure of is how they change the lock codes. A closer look at the lock reveals its just a simple cable with number lock—just like you could buy at any bike store. Guess that means we’ll just have to try it out for ourselves to find out!
We’ve been seeing these bikes all over town—and far from Bemowo—which means they are getting lots of use! Hope to see more bike sharing stations in other parts of Warsaw soon. Check out the link to register and for a map of bike stations.