Hot on the trail of many other Finnish cities, Joensuu is set to introduce 85-90 city bikes this summer. Both residents and tourists can use the three-speed bikes that will be made available at 15 bike rack stations across the city. The paid bike service provided by Easybike will kick off in late June or early July.
Riders need to download a smartphone application and register with the system to be able to rent the bikes. The idea behind the shared city bike concept is that a single rider can use a bike for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time.
The one-time fee for an hour is one euro and the daily fee is five euros. Users can also opt for 30-day and 90-day passes. If the bike is used for more than 30 minutes at a time, extra fees are levied. Students will enjoy cheaper tariffs.
The Joensuu city bike experiment is funded by the North Karelian Cooperative, pop music collective Joensuun Popmuusikot, Punamusta Media, private vocational education and training provider Riveria, University of Eastern Finland, confectioner Fazer and Joensuu.
"It will be interesting to see how such a market-based system will work in the city of Joensuu," said Juha-Pekka Vartiainen, the Joensuu City Planning Manager. City leaders have given the project a green light for this year only.
Big boom in city bikes across Finland
Several Finnish cities have recently jumped on the city bike bandwagon. This spring, the city of Kuopio acquired 150 electric bikes for the first time. In Helsinki too, city bikes have become all the rage. Turku Region Traffic currently has over 300 city bikes, which are being used all year around. This summer, city bikes will also be introduced in Lappeenranta, Oulu, Lahti and Iisalmi.
City officials speculate that groups like students and tourists are interested in using the city bikes. Petri Varis, the executive producer of Joensuun Popmuusikot, said, "Cycling is the best! It’s both environmentally friendly and fun. It’s great that in today's times we can use a shared bike service."
Joensuu is already big on biking. According to officials, about one third of daily trips in the city are done by bike — more than three times the national average. Recent upgrades in the Joensuu city centre include bike-friendly additions such as sheltered bike parking lots.