Some years ago Vienna made an experiment. The city and one of the big telecom providers sponsored bicycles. They were positioned at ten, probably 20 stations all over Vienna, and they were intended for everybody’s free use. Just so.
The outcome was quite unexpected and spectacular. It only took some days and all the bicycles were gone. You could still see them sometime, as they had the advertising of the telco on it, but they were never returned to their stations.
It speaks to the dedication of the city council, that they tried it again from three years ago, this time partnering with Raiffeisen Bank, and this time with a registration scheme. At each station there is a terminal with touchscreen, and you have to register once with your banking card or VISA card, then the use of the now called “Citybikes” is still free. This time it seems to work. Isn’t it sad that it needed a “Big Brother is Watching You!” to keep people from stealing the bikes?
The Song of the Day is from the joint album of Anne Sofie von Otter and Elvis Costello, “For the Stars“, and it’s called “Broken Bicycles / Junk“. The album got some nice critiques, not exactly stellar but nice, and I like it.