Tokyo is no Amsterdam when it comes to biking. However, there have been some noticeable changes in the last couple of years. There are more bike lanes throughout the city and bike rentals are becoming a common sight. Docomo's Bike Share is one such system which allows individuals to borrow bikes for short term use. People can rent a bike at point A and return it at point B, making bike sharing perfect for one-way trips. Each bike services multiple users each day.
What is Bike Share?
Why Bike Share?
Bike share systems solve the "last mile" problem. The "last mile" is a term used to describe the movement of people from a public transit network to their final destination, and this is often the least efficient and least cost effective part of travel. For example, people often walk from a train station to their work place. One user of the Docomo Bicycle Sharing was able to cut her commute to work by about 45 minutes.
Currently, the largest percentage of bike-sharing customers use it for sightseeing, which is no surprise. You can see a lot more of the city when you bike than if you take a train or taxi. By more, I do not mean distance, but rather the day-to-day happenings that make up a city: School kids heading off to school, deliveries being made to restaurants before they open, ceremonies taking place at temples and shrines, stumbling upon interesting architecture, finding delicious smells that need to be investigated. And all of this is possible because you are traveling at your own pace and you're able to stop at any time. A taxi takes you from one point to another. A bike takes you on an adventure.
How do you use Docomo's Bike Share?
To rent a bicycle, log into the membership website, choose a docking port (bike hub), choose a bicycle, and check the passcode. On the bike's electronic panel, press the START button and enter the passcode. The lock will open automatically. You can also rent a bike with an IC card (for example, Suica or Pasmo), which you need to register first, and the exact procedure can be found on the same English guide.
A single use costs ¥150 for the first 30 minutes and ¥100 for every 30 minutes thereafter. Monthly membership costs ¥2,000 and the first 30 minutes are free. Extensions will incur a ¥100 charge for ever 30 minutes. A 1-day pass costs ¥1,500 (+¥500 if availing of the exclusive IC card). To purchase a 1-day pass, you can visit a Docomo Bike Share kiosk or counter, locations available on a map in the English guide. The 1-day pass is the only service you can pay for with cash or credit card. The single trip and monthly membership must be paid for by credit card.
Go on. Get on your own bike share adventure.