Last summer, a housing company in the Leinelä district of Vantaa carried out a trial on shared electric bikes. Between June and July, the bikes were borrowed for a total of more than 65 hours.
In early summer, the residents of a housing company in Vantaa received electric bikes and a trailer for children for shared use, available for borrowing through a reservation system. The purpose is to find out whether housing companies have an interest for shared-use services and what kind of a model suits the use of shared bikes.
The trial is part of the Circular Green Blocks project for promoting sharing and circular economy and carried out by Willari fiksaa ja loonaa, who specialise in electric bikes. The company has previously tested shared bike use with the Tampere Student Housing Foundation (TOAS), but now bike borrowing was introduced in a housing company for the first time.
“Cycling is a very worthwhile form of transportation both in terms of environmental impact and from a financial perspective. Shared-use bikes are a good investment, as at their best, they are constantly being used,” says Annika Viiala from Willari.
Now, at the halfway point of the trial, it would appear that people will discover electric bike borrowing and learn to use the service, provided that they are given time to get used to it. Clear user instructions help with using the bikes and keeping the shared-use rides in good condition. When the instructions are clear, users feel responsible for shared commodities.
“At first, we received messages about bike maintenance, but things have calmed down since. As we all know, no feedback usually means that everything works,” Viiala says with a chuckle.
By August, the bikes had been borrowed for a total of 65 hours, a few hours at a time. The total number of kilometres ridden in June and July was 700. The trailer in particular has proven popular.
“Shared-use electric bikes are well suited for housing companies, but in order to commission them, the board of the housing company or another party in charge of the building must be committed to the project. They need to set an example and encourage others.”
The bike trial is part of the Circular Green Blocks project for promoting sharing economy solutions for housing companies and city blocks. The trial was scheduled to run at least until the end of September. The project involves other trials as well: the borrowing scheme is being tried on a block in the Katajaharju area of the Lauttasaari district and in a housing company in Malminkartano, while farming solutions for housing companies are being tried across the Helsinki metropolitan area.
The project is being implemented by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY, Forum Virium Helsinki, Aalto University and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Union’s COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts.
Photo: Vesa Laitinen