Friday, January 16, 2015

Short Term City Hire Bikes in Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim

The "Südhessen Morgen" reported today that the VRN (Passenger Transport Authority) is setting up a Hire Bike System a la Velolib in Paris or Barclay Bikes in London from 27 March 2015 in Mannheim and 28 March 2015 in Heidelberg.   Nextbike in Leipzig has received the contract to supply the bicycles. Fifty two bicycle parking stations not only in the aforementioned cities but also in Ludwigshafen are planned, though not all will be opened in March. It has taken so long for the agreement to come to fruition because although two of the three cities (MA, HD) are in Baden-Württemberg, Ludwigshafen is in Rhineland-Paltinate and each of the states have different regulations about competitive bidding for public contracts. Mannheim itself has mixed feelings about the bicycle although the 200th anniversary of von Drais's trip on a hobby horse - the predecessor of the bicycle out to a pub, on what was the edge of Mannheim at the time falls in June 2017. Feelings ran and probably still run high about plans to slightly narrow the Bismarkstraße across the southern end of the city centre by constructing cycle and bus lanes. It will add a few seconds to a motorist's trip from Heidelberg to Ludwigshafen. The shopkeepers of Mannheim are afraid they will lose custom although parking in Mannheim is almost impossible except in underground garages etc., where it is not cheap.

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