StadtRAD Hamburg was born in 2009, at a time when (almost unimaginable today) not everyone was yet walking around with a multifunctional smartphone in their pocket. In its international call for tenders for a public cycle hire system, the city of Hamburg therefore explicitly included a plan to invest in ultra-modern station terminals with touchscreens and mobile connectivity.
As well as being eye-catching, the terminals were to offer a wide range of functions, from registration of new customers to hiring of bikes, information on other nearby stations and processing of bank or customer cards to create personalised customer profiles. What hardly anyone expected at the time was that this technology would be ousted or even rendered obsolete within just a few years by the development of smartphones.
For further expansions to the system up to the end of the contract period, Hamburg's government is therefore now open to a rethink of the large foundations originally requested for the station design, as well as to the idea of foregoing installation of additional terminals on a selective basis.
A further 8,500 Call Bikes
Cycle hire in more than 50 towns and cities
The system launched in July 2009.
It has since been expanded to 1,650 bikes in Hamburg.
There are already 230,000 registered customers.
More than 2,000,000 journeys have been completed.
How the system works
All customers can access the technology using their mobile phone and hire a StadtRAD bike by making a phone call.
A phone number can be found on each bike. When the user calls the number on their mobile, the system generates a release code for the bike lock, which the user inputs directly on the bike. The bike unlocks and the journey can begin.