Some good news for those people who love cycling in the city. The BMA will be launching on Sunday 28 October the first of their rental stations at Chamchuri Square. Their ambitious plan is to see 50 such stations around Bangkok by February 2013. For the launch there will be 100 bicycles available for rent increasing to 330 by February next year. Their inspiration comes from the bicycle sharing scheme in Paris which helped reduce traffic in the French capital. However, it took them years to get to that stage and they have 1,800 stations and 23,000 bicycles. We all know how things work around here. They start with a good idea but never follow it through. It will have slow periods for sure but it will only succeed if they persevere and improve the system as they go along. Just take a look at their free bike rental scheme for tourists. Not many people were using it due to bad promotion. However, now that more people know about it and want to use these bikes they have stopped the scheme. Let’s hope this new scheme doesn’t go the same way.
I don’t have much information about this yet but as I will be attending the opening ceremony on Sunday I will do a follow up post on thaitravelblogs.com later. What I know at the moment is that it will be free to use for the first 15 minutes. Once more stations open then this will be really good as you will be able to go from one to the next for free. It is good that you can drop the bike off where you like. The next 45 minutes is 15 Baht which means you only pay 15 Baht for one hour. The longer you have the bike the cheaper it will be. It is 20 Baht for three hours, 40 Baht for five hours and 60 Baht for six hours. For one day the rental fee is 100 Baht. The rental fee includes full insurance, however, you need to pay a 300 Baht membership fee. This means it will be more attractive to Thais and expats than for short-term tourists. All bikes use RFID technology to keep tabs on who is using the bike and how long they rented it for. I cannot wait to try it out. I really want this to succeed.
UPDATE: Read my report on the opening ceremony of the Pun Pun Bicycle Rental Project