Blue-bike launches smart bikes and 4 new Antwerp locations

28 April 2021

Blue-bike, the Belgian shared bike system that can now be found at 72 train, tram, bus stations and park-and-rides, today launched a new lock system. It concerns a 'smart lock' on the bicycles that can be opened with a chip card or an app. Antwerp gets the scoop: these are the first Blue-bikes in Belgium with the new technology.  The city also gained four new locations for the Blue-bikes, namely at the stations of Antwerp-Luchtbal, Antwerp-Noorderdokken and two at Ekeren station. Users are given a temporary discount to discover the new bicycles and locations.

The Blue bike system works with an annual membership of 12 euro and a price per ride. At 72 locations (including the four new ones) in Belgium, members can borrow the bicycles via a key distributor or smart lock.  "Our key distributors have been proving their robustness for 10 years. But Blue-bike is also innovating and making use of new technological possibilities. Thanks to the smart locks we will for example be able to quickly install bicycles at new locations, such as mobility hubs," says Anne Coppens, director of Blue-mobility.

Simple renting via chip card or app

The new lock has a GPS module and is easy to open contactlessly with a Blue-bike or MoBIB card. But you can just as easily scan the QR code with the Blue-bike app. This wider choice lowers the threshold for use and improves the user experience. There is a defined parking zone. When the customer locks the lock in that parking zone, the ride ends automatically.

Antwerp gets the scoop and now has seven Blue-bike locations

Blue-bike is rolling out its smart technology for the first time in Antwerp, coupled with the opening of four new bike sharing stations. Until today, Blue-bikes could be rented in the city at three locations: at the Antwerp-Central, Antwerp-Berchem and Antwerp-Zuid stations. In order to better serve the north of the city and to offer travellers a convenient alternative in view of the (imminent) works on the Oosterweel link on the right bank, four new locations are now opening there. Namely at the stations of Antwerp-Luchtbal, Antwerp-Noorderdokken and two at Ekeren station. All four are strategically located along the F14 (Antwerp-Essen) cycle highway and within cycling distance of many companies. In this way, Blue-bike and the city of Antwerp want to encourage commuters to travel sustainably. Visitors of Ekeren and Merksem will also be able to travel more easily and multimodally.

Alderman for mobility Koen Kennis: "Blue-bike is an important piece of the puzzle for Antwerp mobility. A commuter can use it to travel the last few kilometres to work after taking the train, tram or bus. With the introduction of smart locks, Blue-bike is increasing the ease of use for the cyclist, and with the new locations in the north of the city, it is actively contributing to the modal shift for Antwerp. This will also make the port - and in particular the Luithagen industrial site and the Noorderlaan area - much more easily accessible."

Cheaper rate for discovering new locations

The expansion of the blue shared bikes in Antwerp is one of the nine selected projects of the 2019 project call for mobility providers of Slim naar Antwerpen.  More information can be found on www.slimnaarantwerpen.be/mobiliteitsaanbieders.

Slim naar Antwerpen will temporarily contribute to the fare with a smart Blue-bike at the new locations, and the Flemish government will also contribute 1 euro per ride. This lowers the fare from 3.15 to 1.15 euro per ride of up to 24 hours. This nice discount should lower the threshold to try out the smart shared bicycles. The reduced rate is valid as long as stocks last or until 15 November 2022 at the latest.

The total grant for Blue-bike within this project call amounts to 50,000 Euros. Half will be used to temporarily reduce the tariff. The other half will be used for integration with Mobility-as-a-Service players. In this way, the shared bicycles can be offered even better to travellers and commuters. Today, Blue-bike is already offered via Olympus Mobility, Vaigo, Mobiflow and the mobile app of KBC bank. There are also talks with Be-Mobile (4411), MaaS Global and Skipr.

Ethias proud partner of Blue-bike

This is also a memorable moment for Ethias, Blue-bike's structural partner. Benoït Verwilgen, Vice-CEO of Ethias: "Ethias aims to be a CO2-neutral company by 2030. Our main ambition is to offer an even better service, but without fossil fuels. We motivate our employees to commute by public transport and Blue-bike. For us, this is an essential part of achieving the modal shift. That is precisely why we are a proud partner of Blue-bike."

Blue-bike aims to open new locations with smart Blue-bikes in Essen, Grobbendonk, Haacht, Hove, Landegem, Lommel, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Wevelgem and Zottegem before the summer.