Finally, Rome is getting in high gear. The Comune di Roma has just announced plans for bike sharing for 2008. Does this sound familiar? It should, since it's model after Paris's velo sharing. In January 2008, 250 bicycles will be placed in 22 cicli-posteggi in the Centro Storico-- with the idea being an increase to 20,000 bicycles by the end of 2008.
How will it work? Not quite as easy as Paris and the simple flick of the wrist plus credit card. First, a module must be filled out with a 30 euro subscription deposit at any Punti Informazione Turistica (PIT), located across the city at high traffic areas such as Termini, via Nazionale, Largo Goldoni (Corso), Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano , Piazza delle Cinque Lune (Navona), Piazza Pia (Lungotevere Castel Sant’Angelo), Piazza del Tempio della Pace (Fori Imperiali), Piazza Sonnino (Trastevere) and Via dell’Olmata (Santa Maria Maggiore). Once completed, you are given a tessera (which is electronically readable) and a lock, and the city is yours. Bikes can be returned to any of the 22 cici-posteggi.
The eco-incentive is a gratis first half-hour, hopefully encouraging sharing and less dependency on scooters, cars and buses. There is a kicker (or should I say, Kick Stand)-- the following three half-hours each cost one euro, and then 4 euro for each additional half hour. So keep it to it a minimum and share the bikes!