St. Petersburg launches new bike rental network

First automated rental system goes into operation in the city center. Source: Press photo

First automated rental system goes into operation in the city center. Source: Press photo

St. Petersburg’s first automated bike rental system went into operation in the city center on Friday 4 July.

St. Petersburg’s first automated bike rental system went into operation in the city center on Friday 4 July. Bikes will be available for rent at fixed stations located around the city, and customers will later be able return them to the nearest station after making a trip. The project has been funded by Bank Moskvy (Bank of Moscow), which also sponsors a similar rental network in the capital.

There are now 28 rental stations available for use in the city center with more than 200 bikes in total, and more stations are to be built, according to data from the city’s Committee on Transport Infrastructure Development.

This innovation has a good chance of success in St. Petersburg because the city’s subway stations are located deep underground and relatively far apart, which sometimes makes taking a trip by subway longer than going on foot – or by bicycle. The bicycle is now being considered as an alternative type of transport for citizens and tourists in St. Petersburg, which would appear to be well-suited to cyclists since the city is very flat.

However, some locals have expressed disappointment that the project can be used only for short trips. There are a number of different tariffs available (24 hours – 100 rubles ($2.90), 7 days – 250 rubles ($7.25), 1 month – 450 rubles ($13), or 950 rubles ($27.60) for a season), but while  any number of trips can be made for the price, each ride can be no longer than 30 minutes.

The first 30 minutes are free, but users who exceed the half-hour limit will have to pay based on a sliding scale, beginning from 30 rubles ($0.87) for 60 minutes and rising to a maximum of 3,000 rubles ($87). Prices are the same as in Moscow; the only difference is the color: Moscow’s bikes are red, while St. Petersburg’s are blue.

To start using the rental network, register here.

Read more: 15 reasons to love St. Petersburg

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