Bicing, Barcelona's public rental service, is celebrating its first anniversary. Despite a number of shortcomings and critics, the Catalan capital has almost fully implemented the system with 286 stations and 4,000 bicycles for 130,000 registered users. The plans aren't stopping here. The city will have 400 stations and 6,000 bicycles by the end of August once the expansion plan for the non-center districts is completed. Due to Barcelona's relatively small size (99 km2), neighbor municipalities are considering expanding the service to make it metropolitan.

Nevertheless, and despite the global satisfaction of the service, the system has problems. First of all, the chosen bike model wasn't sturdy enough. Newer bikes have better brakes and light system, as well as improved seats and wheels. Stations have also been plagued with problems, since the locking system has been found to be troublesome. There are also complaints about the system that redistributes the bikes among the stations, which is far from being perfect, despite having more than 10 vehicles and 120 workers. Finally, such an increase in the use of bicycles has proved that the bike lane network to be insufficient, and the City Hall is rushing to get more lanes built.

What is still good is the price: For 24 EUR/year you can use the bikes for 30 minutes any time you need to (paying 0.50 EUR additional for each half an hour in a particular stretch). Plans to create weekly passes for tourists have been postponed so far, so if you plan to visit around, borrow a friend's pass. Per molts anys! (Happy birthday).

[Source: El Periodico]


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