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13 September 2017 Comments (0) Mobility, Other

Billy Bike, self-service electric bikes

After cars and scooters, the inhabitants of Brussels will soon be able to rent shared electric bikes. Thanks to the “Billy Bike” application, about 150 bicycles should be available in the coming weeks. Without a fixed terminal, unlike the Villo!

Bicycles available all over the city, with no fixed terminals, no payment stations … Next to the Villo! shared bike service, set up by the company JCDecaux, and self-service cars, “Billy” will launch soon, a collection of “free-floating” electric bicycles, i.e. parked on public roads where the previous users left them.

One constraint: you must have a smartphone and the appropriate application. “It enables the bicycles to be geolocated on the street. They are attached with a connected padlock, a chain around a pole or a tree. All you have to do is reserve one and you have 15 minutes to get to the chosen bike and open the padlock,” explains Guillaume Verhaeghe, one of the initiators of the “Billy Bike” project, alongside the serial entrepreneur Pierre de Schaetzen.

The price of a metro ticket

In Brussels, in particular, where there are many steep streets , electrically assisted bikes really comes in useful. No more sweating, now the luxury is pretending to pedal, while respecting its environment. However, altough more than one million electric bicycles are sold per year in Europe, ‘la petite reine’ – in its electrified version – is still expensive to buy. For rent, however, it should not exceed the price of a metro ticket for a 10 to 15-minute journey. But several types of subscriptions are being investigated, including an ‘unlimited’ version.

Still in the test phase, “Billy Bike” proposes making one hundred bicycles available in a limited area of about 10 km2. The first happy few will be able to rent them in the municipalities of Ixelles, Etterbeek, Saint-Gilles and Brussels-City, before the big ‘regional’ launch scheduled for spring 2018.

-> Want to try out a “Billy Bike” for free? Sign up at Billy Bike
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