The wheels are turning in Abu Dhabi with the ADCB bikeshare programmes
The Cyacle-managed bike-share system, which launched a year ago with 11 bicycle stations across Yas Island and Al Raha in Abu Dhabi, is set to expand next year.
The stations, sponsored by ADCB, are dotted between Yas Island and Al Raha’s Al Bandar, Al Muneera and Al Zeina areas, and boast a total of 75 bicycles. That number will increase when about 35 to 37 new stations are launched across the capital by the middle of next year and hundreds more bicycles become available to residents.
“But before that happens, we want to make absolutely sure that everyone understands how the bike-share system works, or gets the chance to attend a demo on the system if they need it,” says Ellaine Fatima, marketing manager of Cyacle, a private bike-sharing venture seeded by the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. “There will be hundreds more bicycles in stations all over Abu Dhabi, and we want people to know how to make the most of these excellent bicycles.”
To that end, monthly #bikethere meetups have been organised on the first or second Saturday of each month (3pm to about 5.45pm). The first meetup was on December 5; the next is on January 9.
“Every month, we will welcome 25 people on a first-come, first-serve basis, and give them a little briefing on how the ADCB Bikeshare works,” says Fatima. “This is for people who are eager to use the system but are struggling to understand it, or first-time users who need a one-on-one explanation.”
Cyacle founders felt that explanatory sessions were necessary because many people did not fully understand how to use the bikes and avoid incurring overtime charges.
“Some get confused about renting a bike for a full day and yet still incurring overtime fees because they haven’t docked their bikes after every 60 minutes,” says Fatima.
The meetups start at one of the bike-sharing stations – for example, Yas Beach – and afterwards, the group cycles to a nearby station and learns how to redock their bikes.
The monthly #bikethere days will also serve as free-ride days, when a bike from any of the stations can be borrowed for 24 hours. Fatima says users don’t need to attend a class to be eligible for the free ride.
“We want to promote bike-sharing for all on that one day every month by providing a promo code for everyone who shows interest and contacts us to sign up,” says Fatima.
In the past, she says, users have been confused about when to bring bikes back to the stations – the rule is that the bike has to be brought back to any of the stations within 60 minutes of being checked out, regardless of how many hours a user wants to use them.
“These bicycles are meant to be used to promote a healthy lifestyle and to benefit the environment, or as a leisure activity,” says Fatima. “So to make sure the bicycles are actually being used, we’ve set up this system to make sure people are actually cycling when they are in the possession of one of the bike-share bicycles.”
Updated: December 14, 2015 04:00 AM