Flanders wants to take over Blue Bikes
Flanders wants to take over the Blue Bikes, the fleet of blue shared bikes of the national railway company, NMBS/SNCB. Earlier CEO Sophie Dutordoir already announced that managing a fleet of bikes is not the company’s core business and that it therefore wants to get rid of the bikes.
While this service is available in 54 train stations, it is only really successful in Flanders. Only three Walloon stations are offering the bicycles. In April the SNCB/NMSB still believed in this service and planned to equip 115 stations with Blue-bikes by 2020. Wallonia said to be prepared to help financially.
Mobility Minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) is interested in the fleet, he wants to use them at bus stops, for park and rides and other opportunities fitting with the idea of combining mobility. But Flanders is not the only party interested in those bikes. Cambio, a platform for shared cars, would like to have them, and also several other parties seem to be interested.
According to information obtained by L’Echo/De Tijd, Cambio has sent a letter of intent to the SNCB/NMBS proposing to buy its shares in the Blue Mobility. Cambio’s CEO David Van Kesteren confirmed that his company is interested in the bike rental subsidiary. He refused to go into further details.
Blue Mobility has 54 ‘Blue-Bike’ stations, 49 of them directly next to a train station. Last year the company recorded 180.000 rentals and 16.500 clients renting the fleet of 1.300 bikes. The SNCB/NMBS detains currently 52% of Blue Mobility’s shares, through its B-Parking division whereas De Lijn has 32%.
The rest of the capital (16%) is owned by the Walloon Regional Transport Company and the Fietsenwerk association.