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Make Use of Community Cycles!

Two gym buddies, Jamil and Toshiya, strike up a conversation in the locker room of their local sports club.

Make Use of Community Cycles!

Jamil

The truth of the matter is, I'm considering getting rid of my car. Because there is so much traffic congestion in the Metro Area, I've been thinking of replacing it with something more convenient and environmentally-friendly.

Toshiya

A bicycle? If that is the case, buying would be one option, however, another alternative I can suggest would be to use community cycles.

Jamil

Community cycles?

Toshiya

Yes, it's a new public transportation system that makes use of bicycles. Local municipalities are lending public bicycles to citizens these days. In that the system involves the shared use of bicycles by citizens, it is also known as "cycle sharing."

Jamil

How do these community cycles differ from normal rental bicycles?

Toshiya

Throughout the city, there are a number of locations called “cycle ports.” People who want to use a community cycle can lend one from any one of these and then return it to any of the locations after they have finished. The pricing is also very reasonable. I make use of community cycles when visiting my various customers for work. The service can also be used 24 hours a day, this makes community cycles really convenient if you happen to miss the last train home.

Jamil

Can this service be used everywhere throughout the Metro Area?

Toshiya

At the moment, community cycles can be used in four wards within the Metro Area; Chiyoda-ku, Minato-ku, Chuo-ku and Koto-ku. Currently, each is providing a community cycle service independent of one another. However, from February 1st, they shall jointly participate in a wide-area trial that encompasses all four wards. Thus, through until April 30th, people shall be able to lend a community cycle from any one of the cycle ports within the four wards and then return it to any of the locations after they have finished.

Jamil

That sounds great. It would suit me really well because I live in Koto-ku and work in Minato-ku. So what about when you want to lend a community cycle?

Toshiya

After first registering as a member on the website, all you have to do is swipe an IC card, a mobile phone or smartphone across the console on the bicycle. Check out the website for more details.

The two friends at this point a joined by Richard, another gym buddy.

Richard

So what are you guys talking about?

Jamil

Toshiya was just telling me about community cycles.

Richard

Yes, they have finally become a hot topic in Japan as well. In European cities such as Paris, community cycles are now well-established as a convenient and easy-to-use means of transport. In London where I am from, you see cycle ports here and there. It isn’t just the local people either, lots of tourists also use them.

Toshiya

Why has the community cycle idea been so widely adopted in Europe?

Richard

I suppose major reasons include expectations regarding the ability of bicycles to reduce traffic congestion in urban areas. They have also been introduced for the environmental benefit of reducing CO² emissions. Moreover, many of the cities where they have proved popular had extensive networks of bicycle-only road lanes to begin with.

Toshiya

In Japan as well, I would like to see urban development that made more use of bicycles.

Jamil

Wouldn't it be great if more and more areas introduced the community cycle idea!
■Koto-ku Rinkai Community Cycle
http://docomo-cycle.jp/koto/en/
■Chiyoda-ku Community Cycle
http://docomo-cycle.jp/chiyoda/en/
■Minato-ku Community Cycle
http://docomo-cycle.jp/minato/en/
■Chuo-ku Community Cycle
http://docomo-cycle.jp/chuo/en/