Bike-sharing economy is becoming a fast-growing market all over the world. For example, bike sharing in Italy now worth 5 billion euros. The offer of shared bicycles reaches 40 thousand units in 256 districts, with a number of customers which has increased by 50 % in just two years. This is the proof of how quickly a great idea can spread when combined with the right technology. The growth is due to the great variety of companies that offer the service and to the ease of access: just download the app to start riding a bike.
From automated stations to dockless bikes
In the beginning, bike sharing has spread with docking stations, which consist of bicycles that can be picked up from an automated station and can be returned only at another station belonging to the same system. Lately, free-floating bike sharing has emerged. This is a dockless system because bikes do not have to be stuck into special docks at the end of the trip but can be left wherever you like and used wherever you find one. Two of the most famous company are from China: Ofo, a three-year-old dockless bike sharing company, that had raised over $1.2 billion USD, and Mobike, which pulled more than $900 million in venture capital.
How bike sharing works
The birth of Uber Bike is the proof of the enormous success of bike sharing. The leading company in private car transport is interested in this market because it suffers from the competition of bike sharing, as stated by the managing director Dara Khosrowshahi: "The bicycles risk to cannibalize the short sections made in a Uber car". So they decided to create their own electric assist bicycle rental service, becoming an integrated mobility service.