Czech bike-sharing pioneer Rekola started to offer bike rides abroad for the first time. Residents and visitors of Vaasa, Finland, can rent the pink bikes since August this year. The company informed just last week about expansion to Scandinavia. It is offering 60 bikes in the three-month pilot project.
“Expansion abroad was our plan for this year. Luckily, we were contacted by a Czech woman working at the city hall in Vaasa and knows our story,” founder Vít Ježek explains. Czech Embassy in Helsinki helped with entering the Finnish market according to the press release.
Apart from Rekola-owned bikes, the company wants to use overhauled bikes acquired from locals. Rekola is the first bike-sharing system in the city. The city administration has been fighting bikes abandoned by students in the streets at the end of semestr. Public transport is not very competitive in the city.
The identical bikes are offered in Vaasa and Prague, Czechia. There is a difference in the locking system. “The bikes are not locked to fixed object becuase there are too many bikes in the city. The front and rear wheel is being locked,” Ježek details. The project is running without public funding now. However Rekola looks actively for partners that would help discount the fares. Ježek rented a flat in Finland and works on the project launch there.
The identical name is used in Finland as it is understandable for Finns. Kola (bikes) means rake in Finnish, Rekola is a common surname and there is a suburbs of Rekola in city Vantaa.
Rekola initially considered to open the bike-sharing in Barcelona. The company did not launch as several bike-sharing platforms entered the Barcelona market. “We negotiate with other cities but we are not in deal-closing phase for this season,” Ježek comments.
Czech version is available at Zdopravy.cz.