Who, how and why? First insights into the new stationless bikesharing schemes in Vienna

Station-based and station-less free-floating bikesharing schemes and their related problems and advantages Station-based (stationary) bikesharing schemes form an integral part of the transport system of many larger cities in Europe. Registered users can pick-up and return sharing bikes at docking stations and thus have the possibility to use a bike whenever they like and without even owning one. Station-based bikesharing is often regarded as add-on to public transport (PT). In this realm, its two main purposes are to offer seamless trips by a comfortable first and last mile to and from the PT stop or to provide a sustainable (semi-)public alternative in case of a missing or inadequate PT connection. Thus, the docking stations are often in close vicinity to PT stops representing the concept of mobility points or hubs. These station-based bikesharing schemes come along with only minor efforts for local authorities once all constructions measures are finished and the system is established. After some attempts with semi-stationary or mixed schemes, new service providers who waive docking stations entered the transport market in German-speaking countries with Berlin (June 2017), Munich, Vienna and Zurich (August 2017) as the first cities. Instead of the need for docking stations, users pick-up sharing bikes wherever they are and leave them within the entire operation area as long as the parking place complies with local or national road traffic regulations. From a user perspective, they offer additional comfort since they allow “door-2-door” or “PT stop”- “door”-connections contrary to limitation to “door”-“docking-station”-“docking-station”-“door”-connections known from station-based schemes. However, they come along with several challenges for cities mainly due to parking problems and careless handling. In accordance with the terminology known from carsharing, literature and service providers refer to these schemes as ‘free-floating’. However, the distinction feature of carsharing schemes is – at least from the users’ perspective – if they allow just for return trips (station-based) or also for one-way trips (free-floating). Without any doubt, the established station-based schemes allow one-way trips that is why they are also free-floating. Thus, the new scheme has to be named station-less (or dockless) free-floating bikesharing. The aforementioned problems are subject to newspaper articles as well as ongoing public and political discussions. Impressive photos of veritable hills of broken station-less free-floating bikes from China most likely influenced these reports and the public opinion. Nevertheless, an unbiased assessment of potential and real advantages as well as problems is currently missing due to the novelty of this mobility service.


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  • Accession Number: 01759279
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 12 2020 3:22PM