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The Warsaw Voice » Destination Warsaw » August 29, 2013
Destination Warsaw
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Bike Power
August 29, 2013   
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The Veturilo public bike rental system has taken Warsaw by storm.

There have been more than 1 million bike rentals since it was introduced in the city a year ago. More than 120,000 people have signed up to rent the bikes and so far there are 2,600 bikes in use at 168 locations around Warsaw.

The bikes will be available for rent nine months of the year and provide for urban mobility that is inexpensive, flexible and healthy. People are using the bikes to travel short distances, for example between a metro station and university, office or home.

Users must first register online at www.veturilo.waw.pl and pay an initial fee of zl.10 to activate their account. The bikes can be rented around the clock. The rental price is set to encourage people to use the bikes for short periods of time.

The first 20 minutes is free, with the next 40 minutes costing zl.1. In Warsaw, 80 percent of rentals are kept within the 20-minute free limit. On average, each bike is used three to four times per day. The bikes are equipped with gears, adjustable seats, carry baskets and a secure lock. For Veturilo, Nextbike has developed an automated locking system that speeds up the rental process. Different from the public bike sharing systems in London and Paris, bikes in Warsaw can be returned at occupied stations thanks to separate combination locks.

A consortium of Nextbike Polska Sp. z o.o., Nextbike GmbH and Mifa Mitteldeutsche Fahrradwerke won the tender to implement and operate the public bike rental system until November 2016 for the Public Transport Authority of Warsaw. The contract is worth zl.19 million.

An internet competition was held to find a name for the Warsaw public bike rental. Mateusz Kempisty, a 19-year-old student from Warsaw, came up with the winning name Veturilo, which means “vehicle” in Esperanto.

Nextbike was established in 2004 in Leipzig, Germany, and today operates bike rental systems in 80 cities in Poland, Germany, Austria, Latvia, Switzerland, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand. So far in Poland, the bike rental system operates in Warsaw as well as in Wrocław, Poznań, Cracow and Opole.

Any person registered with Veturilo in Warsaw may also use the systems in other countries and Polish cities where the Nextbike service operates.

Information about the bike rental locations, costs and rules can be found at www.veturilo.waw.pl

Jolanta Wolska
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