Ispark (Istanbul Parking Operations-IPO) has been providing a great convenience of transportation for Istanbulites by launching ‘Is-bike Project’ since 2012. City-dwellers can easily rent one of the bikes, which are replaced periodically, from one station and then turn in it to another station.
As we all know, living in a crowded city breeds stress and anxiety. Moving from one place to another is a big deal when living in a metropolitan city and soon after becomes torture. When it comes to transportation, bikes are among the best travelling options in lots of world cities. However, some drawbacks should be considered carefully such as the lack of safe parking lots. When it is the case, a new safe, easy and affordable system shows its face as an inspiration, which is called ‘smart bike renting systems’. The system from which taken a full advantage in cities like Barcelona, London, Paris has found its place in Turkey (Istanbul) in 2012. It is becoming widespread with each passing day.
‘Smart Bike Renting System’ is easy to use. Located in different parts of city, there are stations to rent a bike either by using credit cards or buying a commutation ticket (city transportation card) in Ispark parking lots. Then you can ride your bike as long as you wish and leave it to any other bike station. When you deliver the bike to a station, the system charges the fee to your card. Thanks to kiosks, there is no need to contact any officer except an unexpected situation. The choice is yours; you may either use your bike as a transportation means or just enjoy riding on the streets.
The number of bicycle roads is rising thanks to this system.
Ispark, which is a subsidiary of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, launched the system. At first, the system served with 10 stations and 100 bikes on the Asian side of the city, on the route of Kadıköy to Kartal. In time, the system is highly appreciated by the citizens. So, the number of stations is raised to 14 stations with 150 bikes in Asian side and to 5 stations with 50 bikes in European side of Istanbul. The number will get higher very soon. Two birds with one stone; the infrastructure for bicycle roads will be ameliorated in Istanbul and a contribution will be made to ‘bike riding culture’ in Istanbul.
How does it work?
The service provides service in two ways; you can either subscribe for a yearly commutation ticket or rent via credit card. Buying a yearly commutation ticket is more economical than buying with credit card. However, it is more practical to rent via credit card, not to mention its timesaving feature.
If you prefer paying with the card, firstly you need to follow the subscription application procedure. It is possible to do it right there via smartphone app or the system’s website just by tapping on ‘rent a bike’ option.
After completing the subscription, follow the steps on kiosk and using the code given by a kiosk you are done with the rental process. Feel free to choose your bicycle. As for yearly subscriptions, you can follow the same procedure; swipe your card on kiosk, access your rental code and enter it for the bike you want to rent. When you are finished with cycling, you can deliver the bicycle to any station you want and be careful with parking it properly. At this moment the rental system supported by a technological database charges the fee accordingly. If you are not sure where to return the bike back, you can download and check the Is-bike App to easily spot the Is-bike stations.
What about Pricing?
If you are paying with the credit card, the moment you swipe your card, 50 TL will be tied up in the system. It is a kind of security deposit, which will be back paid after leaving the bike in one of the stations. From that moment on your rental timing starts. As soon as you deliver the bike to any of the stations, your cycling time is calculated and the database charges the fee accordingly. If you return the bike safe and sound, the money will be loaded on your card.
The pricing policy for yearly subscription is as follows; 2,50 TL per hour, 60-120mins 4TL, 120-180mins 6TL, 3 hours and over is charged 4 TL per extra hour.
The pricing policy for credit card payments is as follows; 3 TL per hour, 60-120mins 5TL, 120-180mins 7TL, 3 hours and over is charged 4 TL per extra hour.
Where are the stations?
For now, Is-bike renders service at the 2 coastlines in Istanbul. In the Asian side, the itinerary stretches out from Kadıköy-Fenerbahçe coast road to Kartal coast road which comprises 16km. All along the road you can find 14 stations. As for European side, there are 5 active stations giving service to city-dwellers. Is-bike authorities state that the number of Is-bike stations will be increased and there will be ongoing improvements in the system.