x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai's first rent-a-bike service attracts thousands

While popular in many European cities, Dubai's version of the popular bicycle hire service was the first of its kind in the Middle East when it launched in February.

Abdulaziz Abdullah, left, executive manager of Byky, and Miroslaw Szibas, of NextBike, demonstrate how to use a bicycle rental station, which can be found at key sites such as Burj Khalifa and Marina Mall. Sarah Dea/The National
Abdulaziz Abdullah, left, executive manager of Byky, and Miroslaw Szibas, of NextBike, demonstrate how to use a bicycle rental station, which can be found at key sites such as Burj Khalifa and Marina Mall. Sarah Dea/The National

DUBAI // Thousands of people have signed up to a bicycle rental scheme at two of the emirate’s most popular tourist areas.

About 6,000 people have become members of the ByKy service, which has 100 bikes at stations in Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina.

Although popular in many European cities, the Dubai version was the first of its kind in the Middle East when it was launched in February.

“It has been very successful over the past few months and now we have about 6,000 people who have signed up,” said a spokesman for ByKy, which is operating the system with a German company, NextBike. “We will now look to expand the service even farther.”

About 500 people signed up to the rental scheme when it launched.

It is available 24 hours a day and there are stations at The Address Hotel, Souk Al Bahar, Burj Park, Burj Khalifa, Burj Khalifa Metro, Marina Walk, Marina Mall, Marina Yacht Club, Marina Gulf Boat and Marina Dusit.

There are 16 bikes locked at each stand. Members can rent up to four bikes, costing from Dh15 for 30 minutes to Dh80 for 24 hours per bike.

Users can sign up via the NextBike app available on iPhone and Android. Users give their mobile phone and credit card details, then get a special identity code number.

To unlock one of the special custom-made bikes, customers simply type in their mobile phone number and ID number followed by the individual bicycle number.

Users are also given the code for the manual wheel lock that comes with the bike so they can secure the bike to a rail when not in use.

The stations and the bikes are checked daily to ensure they work correctly and repaired if required.

nhanif@thenational.ae