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Lisbon shakes up bike-sharing scheme

The Lisbon Municipal Mobility and Parking Company will begin employing a new approach to bike-sharing in the city

  • Terça-feira, 25 de Fevereiro de 2020, 11:30h
  • Author Anton Stoyanov
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Bike-sharing in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon is going to undergo a massive shakeup. The Lisbon Municipal Mobility and Parking Company (EMEL) has decided to take over the reins of bike-sharing within the urban area instead of outsourcing most of the work – as it had done up until just a while ago.

When EMEL first began working on a bike-sharing scheme in the city, it outsourced a vast majority of the support and procurement of bikes to another private enterprise – the company Orbita. Orbita was supposed to take care of the scheme, buy new bikes and stations, expand it and in general, it had to keep it up and running to the satisfaction of citizens.

But in April 2019, EMEL, citing successive contractual failures, terminated its contract with Orbita and subsequently decided to take up the management of the system themselves.

A new approach

Currently, the Lisbon bike-sharing scheme boasts a total of 81 stations and 750 bicycles. After terminating its relationship with Orbita and imposing hefty fines, the City Council immediately went about expanding the service – and has since created 11 additional docking stations.

Furthermore, EMEL also recently announced a tender for the purchase of an additional 1,500 bikes to reinforce the city’s bike fleet. But their approach has also evolved – no longer will EMEL be purchasing regular bikes, instead, they are eager to go 100% electric.

The biggest change, for now, is that the purchase of new stations of vehicles will be entirely in the hands of the Municipal company. In the future, however, local authorities will have to decide whether operational management of the bike-sharing scheme will remain in the hands of EMEL or whether they will be looking for a private company to take care of the day-to-day business and maintenance of the city’s fleet.

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