Bike rental in Tel Aviv .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Four-and-a-half years after taking on Tel Aviv, the Tel-O-Fun bike-sharing network officially expanded to the neighboring city of Givatayim on Tuesday with the mayors of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Givatayim inaugurating the latter’s first 10 stations on Simtat Tsviya Lubetkin, the location of one of the new rental locales.
The stations, which cost about NIS 1.8 million to construct, contain about 200 bike parking racks and 100 bicycles, according to a joint statement from the two municipalities.
Givatayim residents who subscribe to the service will be able to use the docking stations in both Givatayim and Tel Aviv, at a discounted price.
“This is an exciting day for us,” said Givatayim Mayor Ran Kunik. “The metropolitan connection with Tel Aviv is very significant for the city’s residents, who can now enjoy riding within the city and to Tel Aviv and back.”
The Tel-O-Fun bike rental program, launched in April 2011, is the first such system operating in the country. Aside from Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Givatayim is now the only other city to have joined the project, but is expected to be followed soon by Ramat Gan, Bat Yam, Holon, Petah Tikva and Jerusalem, the statement from the cities said.
As part of its goal of reducing car travel and connecting the Gush Dan metropolitan region, the Environmental Protection Ministry contributed about NIS 800,000 to the Givatayim project and, all in all, will be providing a total of about NIS 6m. for all seven cities involved in Tel-O-Fun, the statement added.
“For years I have been encouraging cooperation among the mayors of the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, and Kunik was the first to pick up the gauntlet,” Huldai said. “Just as the cities are cooperating in other areas, such as the Dan Region Wastewater Treatment Plant [the Shafdan], the Yarkon River Authority and the Dan Region Cities Association for Sanitation, it is befitting that we work together as a metropolitan authority to promote advanced transportation solutions for our residents.”
In encouraging this idea, Huldai called upon the Transportation Ministry to establish a Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“Only by adopting the understanding that we are all one authority will we be able to significantly improve the services granted by the municipalities to their residents,” he said.