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3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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White bicycle: Amsterdam awaits Utrecht

9 April 2008 - The municipality is discussing the possible introduction of cheap rental bicycles in Amsterdam with businesses and organisations. However, it awaits the outcome of a feasibility study in Utrecht, where a variant for commuters and tourists is being considered.

The municipality wants to promote Amsterdam internationally as a sustainable mobility city. This issue is being discussed with the RAI exhibition centre, advertising firm JCDecaux, cyclists' organisation Fietsersbond and the Amsterdam Tourism and Convention Board.

One of the options being considered is the introduction of a white bicycle plan. Because of the success of initiatives such as Vélib' in Paris, it is frequently suggested that Amsterdam should introduce a similar cheap rental bicycle scheme.

However, the municipality points out that most Amsterdammers already have a bicycle of their own and that the room for rental stations is scarce. It therefore wants to await a feasibility study that is being conducted by the municipality of Utrecht, at the request of the city council.

By the end of April, the Utrecht city government will decide on the steps to be taken. Since public space is scarce in Utrecht as well, the Utrecht proposal will probably focus on commuters and tourists. The reason is that people living in the city are unlikely to give up their own bicycle when a rental scheme is introduced. Therefore, most can be gained by focussing on people who visit the city. Cheap rental bicycles should then become available at railway stations, popular destinations such as museums and industrial estates.

Such a scheme could be created by expanding on the OV fiets, the bicycles available at railway stations. However, it is not certain that this solution will be opted for. If the plans get the green light, there will be an open procedure for companies interested in running the system. At present it is unknown whether a deal will be considered which allows the operator of the bicycles to put up advertising in the city, as is the case in cities such as Lyon.

Image: Vélib' (photo Edson SØÅ®ES / Flickr)


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