In Guadalajara, a group of bicycle activists called Bicipublica have created a completely new form of bike sharing system. They were inspired by Velib in Paris and Bixi in Montreal, but in Guadalajara, there was little political support for creating a municipal bike share system. Instead they funded their own system by selling bike racks called “Cycle Ports” to local businesses. Their system is much more affordable and easier to implement than existing bike share models. The cycle activists use the resources of existing businesses to check bikes in and out to bike share members. This economical and innovative approach to bike sharing is a model that these Guadalajara cycle activists believe can be copied all over the world.
The Guadalajara system is called Bikla and is different from all other common modern bike sharing systems. The Bikla system does not rely on government subsidies, advertising contracts, or GPS & SIM card tracking devices. Bikla relies on members & existing businesses that want to promote cycling and their location.
The Bikla bike share system works very simply. People purchase a membership for around $15 USD a year. They are given a Bikla ID card that lists the 21 bike share stations and their hours of operation. Each of the participating businesses is required by Bikla to have internet access and a Cycle Port or “staple” style bike racks. These businesses are cafes, restaurants, bookstores, etc. throughout central Guadalajara. When a Bikla member arrives at one of these businesses to check out a bike, the staff logs onto the Bikla website & enters the members ID number. The member is assigned one of the bikes that are locked up outside and the staff of the business gives them the corresponding key. When the Bikla member is done with the bike, they can return it to any of the participating businesses, lock to the Cycle Port, and have the business staff log the return of the bike and deduct “Bike Time” from the user’s card. read more »