Monday, July 16, 2012

Amsterdam OV Fiets not suitable for tourists

In a comparative study on bicycle sharing systems, the German ADAC sharply criticizes the OV-fiets (rental bicycles operated by Dutch Railways) in Amsterdam. Along with the Hague, the capital is at the bottom of the ranking of 40 European bicycle-sharing systems. Information is only available in Dutch, it’s not possible to rent a bicycle without first registering and bicycles have no suspension and gears. The criteria show that ADAC is primarily looks at the bicycles from the point of view of tourists. Last year, a study by the Fietsersbond showed that the Dutch are very satisfied: 96% of users spontaneously recommend the OV-fiets to friends and acquaintances. There is some room for improvement regarding the availability and quality of the bicycles. The best system in the ADAC test is vĂ©lo’v in Lyon. Introducing a similar system in Amsterdam has often been discussed, but this has not been done because there is no room on the sidewalks for bicycle rental stations and because Amsterdammers already own bicycles. Expanding OV-fiets is considered a more feasible option. The Dutch OV-Fiets however was never intended for tourists who are encouraged to rent with bike rental shops, that also service tourists with routes and tours.

1 comment:

Ian Perry (Cardiff, UK) said...

Abellio have announced a version of OV-Fiets for the UK, initially at 50 railway stations (serving it's UK franchises).

The UK's Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)initially wanted to provide an alternative to taking a bicycle onto trains for leisure purposes, and combine bicycle rental with a train ticket, PlusBike. Initially ATOC was looking at small bicycle hire companies to provide bicycles.

The logistics involved in coordinating multiple small bicycle hire companies resulted in ATOC approaching Abellio to expand OV-Fiets to the UK.

The bicycles will be suited to UK conditions and the expectations of riders - so will have gears and hand brakes.

OV-Fiets is limited by requiring users to have a Dutch bank account, whereas in the UK, it's likely that a credit card (from any nation) will be enough to secure a bicycle.