The Prague Integrated Transport system has introduced a map showing how far people can get within 15 minutes from metro stations if they ride a bike. The map highlights the potential benefits of combining cycling with public transportation.
Combining urban transportation, particularly the metro, with cycling is becoming increasingly easier in Prague. In addition to the previously built bike racks at selected metro stations and allowing the transport of bicycles on the metro (up to two bikes per first and last carriage of each train – more information on the PID website), it is also getting easier to commute to the metro using shared bikes. With shared bikes, individuals do not have to worry about maintenance or concerns about bike theft at the metro. These concerns are taken care of by the operators of the shared bike system.
Following last year’s pilot, the Prague City Council has awarded contracts to official operators of shared bikes who will provide free rides in combination with the city’s prepaid public transport card, Lítačka. Over the next four years, individuals can enjoy up to two 15-minute rides per day for free in Prague with the successful operators, Rekola and Nextbike. The only condition is to have a valid Lítačka card and start and end the ride within the territory of Prague.
To benefit from the free rides, you need to have a prepaid Lítačka card (not a paper coupon) and set up an online account that you link to the Nextbike or Rekola application. For more practical information on how to do this, you can visit the Prague Integrated Transport website.
As part of the agreement, the companies have committed to enabling bike rentals and returns at up to 90% of metro stations (the selection of stations is up to the companies). This should significantly increase the potential of combining bicycles and public transport. With this step, shared bikes essentially become another component of Prague’s public transport system, and the presented map illustrates how close metro stations can be to Prague residents thanks to bicycles.
Initially, a limitation may be that rental/return zones on the outskirts of Prague could be quite isolated. However, the bike-sharing companies also promise to expand the zones in outlying areas to include additional destinations as the number of users and the number of bikes on the streets grow.
The combination of bicycles and metro/train connects the benefits of both modes of transportation. It combines the speed and flexibility of bicycles for shorter distances with public mass transit, especially rail transport, which excels in providing faster travel over longer distances.
By linking with bicycles, the catchment areas of individual public transport stations are expanded, creating a fast and highly flexible mode of transportation that can potentially compete with private car travel in terms of attractiveness. This is particularly true for areas outside city centers with a lower population density, and especially for buzzy rail transport stations (such as trains and metros).
Bicycles enable the extension of a station’s catchment area beyond walking distance. International experiences show that park-and-ride facilities at rail transport stations have the potential to attract commuters from distances of 2-5 km. By easily combining with shared bikes, one can utilize the bike + metro combination at the beginning and end of the journey without the need to travel with a bicycle on the metro.