Bickering slows down Blue-bike sale
Flanders would like to take over the blue shared bikes of Belgian railway company NMBS/SNCB but the constant bickering about the property on which the distribution centres for the bikes are situated are slowing down Blue-bike’s development plans.
De Lijn or Optimobil?
Last year NMBS/SNCB announced that it wanted to get rid of its 52% share in the bike-sharing project. Flemish authorities, already owning 32% of Blue-bike via public transport company De Lijn, are interested.
Flemish Mobility Minister, Ben Weyts (N-VA), earlier mentioned that he absolutely wants to take over Blue-bike via De Lijn. Optimobil, however, the company behind car share service Cambio, has its eyes on Blue-bike too.
According to newspaper De Tijd taking over Blue-bike would now be arranged via Optimobil Flanders, the Flemish Cambio department, but negotiations keep on going. Especially the discussion about the property on which the distribution centres for the bikes are located doesn’t seem to come to an end.
Weyts’ new mobility principle
Rental sites usually are situated in the stations, which are property of NMBS/SNCB. Weyts sees a solution in working out a kind of long lease for the territory instead of buying it. There are some other bottlenecks too, like: what will happen with the three Walloon and the four Brussels Blue-bike stations?
Weyts also wants to expand the Blue-bike system to bus stops, park-and-rides and other locations. The shared bikes could also play an crucial role in Weyts’ new mobility principle of 15 Flemish transport regions organizing transport locally.
Empty bike racks
It is not clear yet when all will be set. Blue-bike has no time to lose anyway. Several cities have empty bike racks and want to enlarge their offer. The shared platform wants to double the number of stations to 115 by 2020, and the customer database should go up to 55.000.