Tel Aviv Approves Plan for Bike Rental System

Municipality to select a franchisee to run the project for a period of 10 years.

The Tel Aviv municipality's finance committee approved a plan this week to set up a bike rental system modeled after the one in Paris. Approval by the full city council is still needed, but Monday's committee vote indicates that the project, which was on ice for a long time, will soon get off the ground.

The plan calls for the city's economic development authority to purchase all the necessary equipment. The municipality will then select a franchisee to run the project for a period of 10 years.

Initially, 1,500 bikes will be stationed at 150 points throughout Tel Aviv, meaning 10 bikes per station, though each bike rack will have room for 20 bikes. Those who sign up for the service will be able to take a bike from any of these stations and return it to any station as well.

Half of the bikes and bike racks are slated to be up and running six months after the project is finally approved, and the rest by the end of the first year. By the end of the 10 years, the city plans to have 5,250 bikes and 225 stations.

The cost of setting up the project - including bikes, bike racks, spare parts, the software to manage it and other components - will be NIS 69.6 million, of which the Transportation Ministry has agreed to cover about NIS 20 million.

The franchisee selected to operate the system will be paid NIS 5.8 million a year. In addition, the franchisee will get all revenues earned from subscriptions to the service up to NIS 4.64 million a year, and half of all revenues beyond that level, with the city getting the other half. If revenues are less than NIS 4.64 million, the municipality will make up the difference, up to a ceiling of NIS 2.33 million.

An annual subscription will cost NIS 240 for Tel Aviv-Jaffa residents and NIS 280 for others. A one-day subscription will cost NIS 14, or NIS 20 on Shabbat and holidays, and a weekly subscription will cost NIS 60. Customers will also be able to rent bicycles by the hour.