Tel Ofan 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Two years ago the city of Tel Aviv launched the bike sharing system called Tel Ofan. Good weather, flat roads, and investment in bike paths are just some of the factors that contributed to the project’s success.
"I think the special characteristics of the socio economic profile of the Tel Avivians, is leading to this success," said the Tel Ofan project CEO, Boaz Richter. "They are young professionals and they think its cool to ride bicycles in the city, and Tel Aviv is cool for bicycles."
Today approximately 7,000-8,000 people use the bikes daily, with 170 bike stations spread across the city and some 1,700 bikes in service.
With parking being a nightmare in the city, and bike theft on the rise, more and more residents get rid of their cars and rely on the bike system to get to work, lunch, the beach and just about anywhere across the city.
"I used it for the first time last week," said Elahn Zetlin who recently moved to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem. "Instead of catching taxis to get around, I have to go and do a job now so I figured, yeah I could use the bike, get me there in ten minutes, get some sunshine and some fresh air."
The idea of the bike sharing system is that you can take a bike out at any station around the city for 30 minutes, which is about the time it takes to get from one point to another in Tel Aviv. Then you simply lock the bike back at your nearest docking station, for other users to enjoy.
“I think the bikes, the Tel Ofan project, added something that was missing. Cars in Israel are very expensive, and parking as an inhabitant in Tel Aviv is almost impossible. So I think what the city was missing is the Tel Ofan." Richter said. "There you have the last piece of the puzzle which came in and this is the Tel Ofan.”
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