If you happen to be in Romania’s capital, Bucharest, and want to avoid the heavy traffic or the frequent traffic jams, you can rent a bike and reduce waiting times in traffic for a cost of less than 2 lei per 30 minutes
You can take the bike from certain locations in Bucharest. The renting-a-bike-system by means of a mobile app was introduced in Bucharest this summer. Ape Rider powered by Pegas is the name of the application which you can install on your mobile phone. Upon its launch, 2 thousand bikes became available in the system proposed by Ape Rider, and their number will be increased, according to demand, first in Bucharest and then in the other cities of Romania. The bikes allow for GPS monitoring which means that the system operators can exactly track the location of the bikes. Also all bikes are equipped with motion detectors. Let’s find out more details from Andrei Botescu who reinvented the Pegas brand:
Andrei Botescu: “Ape Rider is a dockless bike-sharing service, which means that there are no bike stations. It is trying to offer more mobility in the city in an ecological manner, adapted to the city’s modern requirements. It was my idea and I adapted it according to international trends. For instance, in Asia there are one hundred million such bikes, and the trend is on the rise and spreading also to the US and Europe. Such systems have appeared in the big cities, and our main target is to compete with these service providers, offering services of better quality than theirs. We intend to also access other cities of the world.”
Using this application is very easy. Andrei Botescu will next explain the steps:
Andrei Botescu: “You can make an account on the Ape Rider app by downloading the application from App Store or Google Play and you’ll have to pay 20 lei (around 4 Euros) upon activation to subsequently pay 1.9 lei per 30 minutes.”
Once you have finished installing the application, your need to get registered with your bank card. 69 lei will be blocked from your card for possible damage to the bike, an amount that will be returned to you when you uninstall the application. In the next phase a map with available bikes and virtual parking stations will be uploaded on your phone, therefore it is very easy to find an Ape Rider bike when you need one. Moreover, you can reserve the nearest Ape Rider bike, thus blocking other people’s access to it.
The bike can be unblocked by scanning the QR code, which is printed on its frame. After arriving at the destination one should manually snap in place the locking gear on the bike’s rear wheel. The app has been tested ever since its launch in May this year. Here is Andrei Botescu at the microphone again.
Andrei Botescu: “The application was introduced this year and has been under tests in Bucharest ever since. We can progress this way and get a very solid application, which will allow us to increase the number of bikes in Bucharest. We have also received requests to introduce this programme in other major Romanian cities like Iasi, Timisoara and Constanta.”
The start-up was a very bold one, as our interlocutor has pointed out, at the same time confessing that most of the issues are related to bicycle theft in spite of the high-tech tracking system in place.
Andrei Botescu: “We would like to continue to upgrade the software and tracking system in the future as well, because we want to offer a tracking device for the retail business as well. We would also want to make electrical bikes available in the bikesharing system. I am speaking about the self-charging electrical bikes, those that can charge through pedal power.”
The aforementioned app is in English but it will soon become available in other languages as the initiators of the Pegas-powered Ape Rider system want to make it available in countries like Belgium or the UK as early as the next spring. They want to reach over 100 thousand users by the end of the year, which is expected to considerably ease traffic in crowded urban areas. Our interlocutor Andrei Botescu has also made an invitation.
Andrei Botescu: “I invite all listeners to download the app from App Store or Google Play and make the most of these beautiful autumn days by taking a bike to any place around this city. They can leave the bike almost anywhere as there are 8 hundred virtual bicycle parking stations around the city and they will see that they can go everywhere in Bucharest without experiencing its crowded traffic.”
Bucharest has already had a bike sharing system with automated parking stations but with the aforementioned systems in place it will be among the first ten European cities that have joined this global trend of alternative environmentally-friendly urban transportation.