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Krakow's bicycle netflix! City creates long-term bike rental service

07 of December '22

Krakow will have its own bicycle "netflix." The Public Transport Authority will create a new urban rental service - LajkBike. It will be distinguished from the previous system, Wavelo, by almost everything except the mode of transport rented.

The name LajkBike, of course, refers to the Lajkonik, just as the previous Wavelo referred to the Wawel Castle. The previous rental service closed on December 31, 2019. The system was based on bicycles available in urban spaces, which could be rented for up to a few minutes. The bikes had to be put away at the appropriate station after use. For many years, it was one of the most popular bicycle rental systems used throughout Europe.

For more than two years, rental bikes were not available. In addition to contractual issues between the city and the company operating the system, two factors should be noted. Less than three months after the end of Wavelo's operation, the Covid-19 pandemic began, which meant a total lockdown across the country. Bicycle traffic was restricted for most of 2020 and 2021, mainly by residents sitting at home.

Wcześniejszy system — Wavelo

earlier system - Wavelo

photo: Mach240390, © Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

The second factor that certainly reduced the attractiveness of short-term rentals was the spread of electric scooters by private operators. Regardless of the number of problems associated with cleaning up this mode of transportation in the city, it's hard not to notice its dominance in urban spaces. Some of the large companies providing scooters have also introduced bicycles into their offerings, which do not have to be left at points in addition. However, they are few in number, compared to scooters. A recurring short-term rental bicycle would have a lot of competition today, so it was decided to change the system.

new formula

LajkBike is intended to be a long-term rental service. The bicycles, whose color scheme refers to the colors of the city, would be borrowed for a minimum of one month. All two-wheelers would be serviced by the Public Transport Authority of Krakow. On the renters, however, falls the need to take care of the equipment and properly guard it, which was not necessary in the previous system. The rental system is turning from a several-minute rental into a "bicycle netflix."

Opracowanie loga

logo development

© Public Transportation Authority of Krakow

Thecost of renting a bicycle is to be PLN 29 per month + a deposit. Electric-assist bicycles are to be available, if a provider is found, with a monthly subscription of PLN 79 + deposit. When is the system to be launched? Not until March 2023 due to the ongoing winter season.

Which system is better?

LajkBike will certainly make it easier for many people who have not decided, for financial or operational reasons, to use a bicycle in urban spaces. Poland's pioneering bike rental program will be worth evaluating after at least a few months of use. It is difficult to evaluate a city program that has not yet been implemented. A shortcoming will certainly be less mobility. Those who wanted to use bicycles temporarily will be able to use bicycles or scooters offered by private providers. Unfortunately, these bicycles are quite scarce, while the scooter is not suitable for all users who may have used a bicycle.

The Krakow program is worth watching - perhaps this "bike netflix" will be the stimulant for the spread of single-track in the city, which will translate into an increasing emphasis on the value of the bicycle as a means of transportation in urban space.

LajkBike ma być dostępny od marca 2023 roku

LajkBike is expected to be available from March 2023

© Public Transportation Authority of Krakow

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

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