Our city series focuses on different cities around the world that are partnered with PBSC Urban Solutions for their shared micromobility needs. We’ll focus on these smart cities, and deep dive into how our technology and innovation has empowered the success of their bike-sharing systems.
Barcelona is Spain’s second largest and densest city, home to over 5 million people. It has a rich history and a strong identity, while being modern and well organized. It’s a beautiful example of how deeply rooted traditions can meet the ideas of a future-oriented Smart City. The local government strives to adapt urban space more equitably between modes of transport, providing more comfort and safety to those traveling on foot, on a bike, and on public transit. The city has invested in plans to improve mobility and livability while staying true to its heritage. An essential part of their vision includes micromobility, and more specifically a robust and reliable bike-share system featuring a mix of regular and electric bikes.
Bicing is the smart bike-share system for the smart city. With a plan of 7,000 electric and conventional bikes distributed among a vast network of smart-stations, it puts accessibility to the forefront of its mission. Developed by PBSC, it leveraged years of research and development, engineering, and experience in more than 40 cities. Bicing’s fleet is also adapted to the tastes and preferences of Barcelonans in its technology, design, and branding. The system is incredibly popular amongst locals, with 127,129 registered users making 13.5 million trips annually. In fact, every month, the Bicing program accounts for almost two million kilometres of distance travelled. To put that into perspective, it’s five times the distance between the earth to the moon (or 50 trips around the world!). This translates to a real environmental impact. If we consider the average cyclist bikes 2.4km per trip, and that a car produces about 0.130kg of CO2 per kilometer, Bicing reduces CO2 emissions by about 10,600 kg per year relative to car travel.
Thousands of ICONIC bikes make up most of the fleet. With a light, durable aluminum frame, the ICONIC stays pristine and rust-free in urban climates and has a proven secure locking system. For comfort, the bike features a basket for small luggage, and an adjustable seat. It also considers the safety of cyclists in the busy streets of Barcelona, with reflective wheals and LED lights.
Additionally, 2,000 BOOST bikes will be in use by Bicing. The BOOST shares a similar design to the ICONIC, but with the added convenience of an e-bike. Our pedal-assist technology gives cyclist the extra boost they might need on long distances or on uphill journeys. Its 250W rear-wheel motor allows cyclist to go faster than a traditional bike, for an easy and comfortable cycle. And riders can go worry-free, its high-capacity battery keeps you moving for up to 60 km of autonomy.
Barcelonans love the BOOST, and it shows in the numbers, the BOOST travels 735km monthly, and is used by 64% more cyclists than its non-electric counterpart.
519 smart stations are strategically installed throughout the city. The Smart Charging Dock securely locks the bikes until a user unlocks them. Additionally, all the stations feature fast and automatic charging of our electric bicycles. Unlocking a Bicing bike is intuitive and user-friendly, you can do so by using a QR code reader, the Smou app, or scan-and-go technology on any device with NFC technology, like smartcards, or smartphones.
Bicing’s success story is the product of a solid partnership between PBSC and Ferrovial, named Pedalem Barcelona. PBSC supplied the bikes, smart-stations, and technology for the system, while Ferrovial operates Bicing on the ground. B:SM, Barcelona’s Municipal services, who had put out the tender for the project, is the contract owner. The new system was deployed in under 3 months, replacing an older one made by a different provider.
One year after its deployment in 2019, membership was already on the rise with thousands of new subscribers. Bicing is constantly evolving and growing, and the COVID-19 pandemic is uncovering even more benefits of having a reliable bike-sharing system. As the city lifted its lockdown, the recovery has been fast and stable, with 20,000 new users in the months of May, June and July. This represents a 77% growth year over year for those months. The story of our bikes in Barcelona started many years ago but our work in the city continues to achieve the evolving vision of the future in mobility for Barcelona.