Moscow starts bike-sharing scheme

AFP-JIJI

Bike lovers in Moscow rushed to try out the city’s first bicycle-sharing program Saturday, in a new scheme aimed at reducing the number of cars choking the city center.

The first riders reacted enthusiastically to the red bicycles parked at some 30 stations along the city center’s boulevards.

The program is similar to ones already in place in Paris, London and, more recently, New York.

To start with, there are just 150 bikes available for hire, although authorities say they plan to rapidly expand the service.

In a system similar to those in other countries with bike-sharing schemes, users have to register online and deposit money into an account before they can access the urban bicycle stations, which are for now concentrated around Moscow’s central boulevard ring.

The bikes, which are free for the first half hour and cost 30 rubles ($1) per hour after that, can be returned to any station.