Three ‘virtual’ BikeMi stations open: how they work

The Milanese sharing mobility is enriched with a new service: bikeMi, the yellow and red bikes managed by Clear Channel, will have three new virtual stations, i.e. without a rack and with only signage. A fixed-stall sharing easier to implement that the Municipality, Atm and Clear Channel have decided to experiment to facilitate above all the home-school movements made more complicated by the quota rules that still concern public transport due to the pandemic.

Three stations have been identified near as many high school institutes precisely to meet the needs expressed also by the Pact for schools: the station in via Apulejo – viale Campania which mainly serves the scientific high school R. Donatelli – B. Pascal, the station in via Hajech which serves the Brera artistic high school and the Via della Commenda station which serves the G. Berchet classical high school.

Each of these stations, which are part of a pilot project, can accommodate 20 electric bicycles. The bikes enabled for the service are initially 250, a smart lock has been implemented that blocks / unlocks their use and allows them to be picked up and returned both in dedicated areas and in traditional physical stations.

How does the BikeMi work without a station?

The virtual stations are made up of signs only and will be made visible thanks to a pole that signals their presence. This is a service that makes it possible to make bike sharing with fixed stalls more widespread and, once the experimentation has been completed, virtual stalls will be able to be placed in many neighborhoods with particular attention to places where today it is not possible to install racks for technological and physical space reasons.

The system will always be credited via an application on a smartphone and in the procedure the user will be given the option of being able to choose to go to one of the virtual stations. If so, the system will select one of the smart lock bikes for the user. The BikeMi fleet has a total of 5,430 vehicles, of which 1,000 are electric and 150 with child seats. In total, there are 322 stations with rack to which the three virtual stations are now added.

The development of cycling has had a particular increase starting from the spring of 2020 with the first reopening after the lockdowns due to the pandemic and the need to quickly offer an alternative to the need to move around the city: the cycle network has been developed with 76 kilometers of new urban routes that allow Milan to have 300 total kilometers of cycle paths today. In addition, specifically for school mobility, since September 2020, 87 new racks have been installed at the service and at the request of schools, within them or in related locations, creating 435 bike spaces. Currently there are a total of 7,674 racks for 33,640 bike stalls, up from 6,016 in 2015 for 25,955 stalls, an increase of 30%.

Today the mobility of the city needs more and more to integrate public transport, sharing, bicycles, to move more, better and insecurity. And this experimentation allows to accelerate this process.

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