The Olomouc-based Bikesharing company Nextbike has expanded to over twenty cities in the Czech Republic. The company currently operates nearly 5,200 shared bicycles and electric bikes, which is an increase by 170 percent on the previous year.
Nextbike has so far offered shared bikes in 14 cities, including Prague, Brno, Hradec Králové, Ostrava and Olomouc, but also in towns as Mladá Boleslav and Prostějov.
The company has recently expanded to another nine towns, including Frýdek-Místek, Zlín, Krnov, Písek, and Mnichovo Hradiště. According to the company, its bicycles are now available to more than four million people across the Czech Republic.
“Mayors and councillors in cities across the country are gradually discovering the magic of bikesharing,” Nextbike's CEO Tomáš Karpov told the Czech News Agency.
The company is planning to expand further in the future, bidding for more tenders to operate bike-sharing services in other Czech locations.
According to Nextbike’s data, bike-sharing traffic reaches around 10,000 rentals on busy days. The busiest operations are in Ostrava, where the company recorded 700,000 rides last year.
The growth in interest has also been influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, which the company says has brought more customers to bike sharing.
"People value their time more, they know that they can often get to their destination faster and more reliably by bike because they are not held by the traffic.
“They have also become more aware, in a time of pandemic, of how nice it is to combine their chores with light exercise,” Mr. Karpov told the Czech news Agency, adding that the individual cities are now facing a challenge of improving the infrastructure for cycling.
Nextbike was founded in 2004 in Germany and is now active in dozens of countries around the world. It has been operating in the Czech Republic since 2017.
There are another three companies providing bicycle sharing in Prague, including Estonian Bolt and U.S. Lime and the domestic Rekola, which was launched in 2013.