Krakow has blocked the free Park-e-Bike city electric bike rental, made available to residents in park and ride car parks. Reason? Broken frames, broken seats, bent wheels and other acts of vandalism that appeared with the launch of the system after the winter break. – Young people have arranged downhill on these bikes – says Maciej Piotrkowski from the Public Transport Authority in Krakow.
Park-e-Bike, a free electric bike rental, started operating again in Krakow after the winter break on March 20. Bicycles were to be made available to residents once again until the end of the season. As before, they were to be used primarily by drivers using park and ride parking spaces in Czerwony Maki, Nowy Bieżanów, Kurdwanów and small Plaszow.
Within a few weeks of restarting the system, some users have led some of their two-wheelers to ruin. Therefore, officials decided to suspend the system.
Sawed saddle, broken frame, broken brakes
12 vandalized bicycles are unusable. As Maciej Piotrkowski from the Public Transport Authority in Krakow emphasizes in an interview with tvn24.pl, some of them have broken bells, brakes, pedals, seats and luggage lines. In one case the frame was broken, in another the steering wheel was filed down. Some vehicles have damaged wheels.
– A dozen or so other bicycles are damaged to a lesser extent, for example, various inscriptions were applied to them, some of the equipment was destroyed. Several were completely covered with mud after being thrown into a ditch near Brzegi, Piotrkowski describes. The vast majority of vandalism occurred in Bieżanów.
The official points out that the damage was most likely done by “unauthorized users”. – I mean young people who have set up downhill on these bikes, for example in the Wolski Forest, Bielańsko-Tyniecki Landscape Park or in Zakrzówek. They were doing some off-road riding, and these bikes aren’t completely made for that. Their parts are not adapted to such loads – he explains.
Over $100,000 loss
Each of the 12 most damaged bicycles is unusable. The price of one is several thousand zlotys, so the losses are estimated at over PLN 100,000.
Last year, bicycles were also destroyed, but not to such an extent and not on such a scale. – At that time, we reported the case to the law enforcement authorities, but the prosecutor’s office discontinued the proceedings because it was impossible to identify the perpetrators. It must be remembered that the fact that someone rented a given bike does not mean that he also destroyed it – emphasizes Piotrkowski. He added that the vandalism had not yet been reported to the police. Officials are considering filing a notification due to the scale of the phenomenon.
Park-e-Bike system in Krakow suspended. When he comes back?
Piotrkowski explains that until now, in order to rent a city electric bike for free, you had to enter your name, e-mail address and telephone number in the application. However, this turned out to be insufficient, because users often provided made-up data. So anyone could rent a bike, even if it was called “Wawel Dragon”, as long as it had an e-mail address and telephone number.
However, this is about to change. The city bike system has been suspended and two-wheelers cannot be rented. It is not yet known when the rental will start operating again.
– Now the company that is responsible for the application is to introduce the possibility of additional verification of users there. We would like there to be identity verification using credit cards, so that users are not anonymous. It will still be a free service, however.
Main photo source: Public Transport Authority in Krakow