More sustainable mobility thanks to bike-sharing system
Dégage is a civic organization that offers private cost-sharing car and bike sharing in Flanders and Brussels. All members receive the entire car and bike fleet at their disposal at a fixed mileage allowance. In return, Dégage reimburses the owners for the actual costs incurred. As a provider Dégage arranges the sharing of these cars and relieves the owner of the burden. As a civic organization, the organization is strongly committed to local operation. More than 280 cars from private individuals are shared among 2800 users.
With this sharing system, we strive for more conscious car use and sustainable mobility. Each shared car makes other cars superfluous. Those who do not have a car parked outside their front door are less likely to use one and are more likely to opt for a bicycle or public transport for short trips. Dégage therefore literally means 'out of the way'.
Next to our offer of shared cars, we also wanted to set up a private, neighborhood-oriented and cost-sharing bicycle sharing system, with attention for special bikes (folding bike, cargo bike, bike trailer, tandem ....). Because it goes without saying: sharing a bicycle also leads to less car travel.
After the launch, the trial period and the evaluation, we can say with a positive feeling that the project was a success and that we will certainly continue it.
There was a lot of interest in the bicycle offer: in 6 months 50 quality bicycles were borrowed some 300 times in Ghent. The electric cargo bike and longtail bikes are the most popular, especially for transporting children on leisure trips or for shopping.
The offer of shared bikes on top of the shared cars created interest among both existing members (who indicated that without the bike offer they would have lent a car) and new members, who were attracted by the special bikes.
To improve the ease of use for all participants, we also developed a Dégage App in 2019.
We are also committed to dissemination. During the trial period, we were happy to go to other cities and towns to explain our project. We even developed a special brochure aimed at municipalities and cities to support them in the start-up of private bike and car sharing.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
For Dégage, bicycle sharing is a relevant complement to car sharing and represents real added value. The bicycle offer causes a shift among the own members: 37% of the bicycle trips would have been made by a car without the bicycle offer. In addition, the offer of special bikes attracts new members.
We need to put even more effort into communication and awareness so that bicycle use increases and the costs are certainly covered. With bike sharing, it is important to have an offer at the neighborhood level and also to communicate very locally. One possibility is to support bicycle owners to make the offer known in their neighborhood.
The evaluation showed that members would like to have a better, more detailed description of the bikes on offer, for example with photos, indication of the number of seats in the case of tandems, the riding range of e-bikes, etc.
Because the use of bikes by their owners is more ad hoc than with cars, we need to make the reservationprocess even simpler. The faster the response time, the easier it is to hand over the keys, a search function in the app by type of vehicle ... The smoother the reservationsystem, the more owners and users will join the sharing system.
10district evenings to seek pioneers
440existing members made cycling account
50quality shared bikes
300borrowings at 6 months
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The bike-sharing system will continue beyond this project. The offer is fully integrated in the operation of Dégage, as in the information sessions and the communication via neighborhood aerials.
It is important to continue to intensify the use of shared bicycles. This is necessary to realize the cost-sharing principle of Dégage. With 4 to 8 loans per bike per month, we can cover the costs for owners.
In addition, enthusiastic members of Dégage will be rolling out the system in other Flemish cities in 2020. Important in this are bicycle owners who are keen on the sharing economy and a local offer, on a neighbourhood level, of special bikes for members.