After three months of road tests, ”Bike Sharing Napoli” opened to the public on 3 February 2015. The experimental program will run through May of 2015 with some 100 bicycles that have been posted at eight of ten strategically located “cyclestations” between Centro Storico and the Lungomare. Bike Sharing Napoli is just one of a number of Napoli Smart City initiatives and it is a “research project” being undertaken by the CleaNap Association.

A grass roots organisation, CleaNap was founded in 2011 after a group of 50 citizens “united by their love for Naples and armed with brooms, dustpans, detergent, trash bags, and of course, good intentions”, took to the streets to clean up the city’s public spaces. Today, this group of young people (aged 35 and younger) work on a variety of projects connected with the environment, sustainability and social innovation.

Bike Sharing Napoli offers a simple, ecological and economic form of transport for both citizens and visitors, allowing everyone to fully enjoy the city as well as the pedestrian areas while helping to preserved the city’s environment.

Bike-sharing as a form of public transport (vice leisure biking) is not a new phenomenon. It was first introduced in Amsterdam in the mid 1960s. Though the “experiment” failed, the idea stuck and today, various forms of bike sharing programs are widespread throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The concept is that bike-sharing serves as an augment to other forms of public transport like the metro, bus and funicular. The bicycles are used for transport from point “A” to point “B” only within a limited amount of time (i.e. 30 minutes), ensuring that they are available to many “passengers” throughout the day. An alternative to motorised forms of transport, bike-sharing is an environmentally friendly form of transport that can help reduce traffic congestion and air and noise pollution. The bicycles are not electric and were built with strength, durability and safety in mind.

Bike Sharing Station outside the Toledo Metro Station on Via Toledo

The pilot program is open to all residents and visitors to Naples and the first eight cyclestations are open and ready for riders. They are at Piazza Garibaldi, the car park at via Brin, Piazza Bovio (Metro Line 1 – Università), piazzetta Nilo (Centro Storico), Piazza Dante (Metro Line 1 – Dante), largo Enrico Berlinguer (near the Toledo metro stop), via Vittorio Emanuele III (outside of Castel Nuovo), and via Partenope (Castel dell’Ovo). Two more stations will open later at largo Donnaregina (near the MADRE museum) and piazza Vittoria.

How does it work? It’s as easy as riding a bicycle. In general, service is available 7 days a week from from 07.00 to 22.00. Bicycles can be picked up at at any one of the eight cycle stations and ridden to any one of the other cycle stations. To ensure bicycles are continuously available throughout the day, the program imposes a  30 minute limit each time a bike is checked out, ensuring riders use the bikes as intended, to travel from point “A” to point “B”. There is no limit to the number of times you can check a bike out per day however.

Bike-sharing Napoli is only open to persons aged 18 or older. The program is free of charge, but you must register with a credit card or prepaid card as a guarantee. You can start using the bikes almost immediately upon registration with the free Bike-Sharing Napoli App which is available on Google Play and the App Store. Participants can also request a smart card during the registration. The card is free but the postage is €6.50 and delivery is to Italy only.

Find out more at Bike-Sharing Napoli.