Well, I have survived my first week back at work after two weeks lovely holiday in Sitges and back in the groove. It’s not often I get the chance to compare Valencia with London with regard to new initiatives that have been introduced by the cities. But on my return to Valencia I was pleased to see the new cycle hire scheme up and running in the city. Valenbisi it’s called here and after filling in my online application for a annual card and paying my €18 fee, my card duly arrived three days later! (I was suitably impressed with the admin of the scheme!)
After the recent launch of Barclays Cycle Hire in London, I was really excited about seeing if Valencia could pull off a good launch also. Because the two cities are so different in size (7,556,900 in London vs. 814,208 in Valencia) I think it would be a bit unfair to directly compare the two prices directly. The overheads for installing and maintaining 400+ cycle stations around the city of London compared to Valencia’s 275 planned stations clearly would make the London scheme more expensive to start. But I was surprised but the difference in initial outlay to join and the difference in say three hours use. €6 in Valencia compared to £15 in London!
In Valencia your first 30 minutes are also free. The following hour is charged at €0.50 per 30 minutes and then it becomes €2 for every hour after that up to 24hrs hire. So it is significantly cheaper than in London for those trips lasting a few hours. It does work out similar if you keep it for 24hrs though. Another thing I thought was good was the short term hire. This is available directly from the street terminals for those just visiting short term and wanting to use a bike for a day which I don’t think is available in London yet.
One thing that is very noticeable is the lack of corporate sponsorship/logos on the bikes. Even though the Valenbisi scheme is run by one of the world’s leading outside advertising space companies JCDecaux, they have no logo on the bikes. Unlike The Barclays branded ones in London. And JCDecaux run similar schemes in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Vienna, Luxembourg or Dublin as well as the Spanish cities of Seville, Córdoba, Gijon and Santander so I’m guessing they must make money out of it or they wouldn’t do it. I have to say I’m looking forward to making the most of the scheme in Valencia.
Anyway, I’m heading to London tomorrow and will do my best to check out the London scheme, pay my £5 for the week and cycle back and forward between Soho and Bloomsbury. But I will only do this should I be able to avoid the H&K London bar! That will be tough for sure as the place has a tractor beam that pulls you in as you exit the lifts on the ground floor and I’m sure I hear the bottles of chilled Prosecco shout my name as I enter the building!