Can Cycling Save Split from Traffic Jams? Public Bikes Hitting Streets Soon

Daniela Rogulj

Split is one step closer to getting an integrated system of public bicycles like Zagreb, Šibenik, Zadar, Karlovac, Makarska, Slavonski Brod, Gospić, Lastovo, and the European destinations where it has long been part of the offer.

Namely, an ongoing public procurement procedure is underway to introduce such a modern bicycle system to Split, which will certainly enable citizens and tourists to get even closer to everything Split offers, while linking local settlements and distant parts of the city, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on August 24, 2018. 

The City of Split is implementing the EU REMEDIO project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in traffic in overcrowded areas and encourages the use of REMEDIO (REgenerating mixed-use MEDurban communities with congested traffic through Innovative low carbon mobility sOlutions), thus using low carbon transport systems. Thanks to this, Split can implement an integrated public transport system through electric and ordinary bicycles, worth 112,000 euro, which includes the supply, transportation, delivery and installation of bicycles, parking stands, communication terminals and user cards. 

However, it will also include implementation and design services of a complete public bicycle system, application software development and installation, licensing for a public bicycle system, and management and maintenance of the system for a year. 

“As we’re preparing the public procurement procedure for the requested offer, for the value of 112 thousand euro, it was possible to get 14 ordinary and 8 electric bicycles with stands, terminals, cards, and the complete software, licenses and cost of managing and maintaining the system. Split Parking was also included in the whole story as a municipal utility company that will take over the management and maintenance of the public bicycle system after the project implementation is completed. They even expressed interest in securing their own funds of up to 500,000 kuna for the purchase of identical bicycles to extend the contingent of public bicycles. So now, together, we have a total of 50 bicycles – 30 ordinary and 20 electric,” explained the city administration, adding that introducing this bicycle renting system implies implementing the full function of all parts of the system, commissioning, testing and training, and delivery for a fully ready system for end users. The public bicycle system is foreseen for eight locations, each with one terminal and 5 or more bicycle parking stands. The intention is to cover the entire city.

“A number of meetings have been held with the Split Parking staff to identify locations that will be the most frequented, easily accessible for a delivery vehicle that will be deployed at locations, and near a power supply. Potential locations are defined at the Student Campus in Visoko, in front of the Student House, in Split 3, at the parking lot next to Poljička cesta, next to the Tourist Palace, in Žnjan, near Kaufland at Domovinskog rata, at Spinut near the Student House. The locations were discussed with members of the working group that was formed within the framework of the implementation of the Remedio project, involving representatives of the University of Split, Split-Dalmatia County, Association ‘Sunce’, the Bicycle Association of Dalmatia, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the City of Split,” said the service for International and EU projects, stating that the exact locations of where the bicycle terminals will be set up will be defined upon conclusion of the contract with the best bidder, which is scheduled for September. 

Given the end date of the project, by the end of April 2019, we can hope that the system will be ready, just before the new season. The billing itself and the use of public bicycle systems will be enabled via smartphone applications, and no employee who uses the service will be charged. The system must have an SMS payment service enabled because of its simplicity and ability to link city parking fees. 

“Future integration with the use of parking under the management of ‘Split parking’ and public city transport is planned, which will be achieved once a unique Split Smart City platform is established, where citizens will have an opportunity to use different services of the City of Split and all city companies, which will be available through a unique smart city card,” said the Split City Administration. 

They are also interested in working on the development of cycling infrastructure in the city, as there is currently only an official 11 km long bicycle track from Ravni njiva over Spinut and Marjan to the West Coast. 

“For the following year, we plan to continue the route from the eastern part of the Riva, from the Tourist Palace to Bačvice, Firule, and Žnjan to Duilovo. The long-term plan is to extend it until Stobreč, which will be done after the Eko Kaštela Bay project, which will lay pipes in the sea from Duilovo to Stobreč and create a pedestrian-cycling path 7 meters wide. This way, we would have the entire ring of cycling trails in Split, which will certainly encourage more of our fellow citizens to use bicycles as daily transport, both their own and the city’s public bicycle system, which will begin with 50 and have even more in the future. Namely, another EU project was approved in which 100,000 euro is planned for the public bicycle system. This is the SUTRA project from the INTERREG program of cross-border cooperation with Italy, in which the City of Split has a budget of 206,000 euro, and 80 percent is co-financed by EU funds,” concluded the Split City Administration.


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