Open Source Crowd-Provisioned Bike-Share Scheme

I came across this on SlashDot.

It describes an open-source app-based booking system for bicycles, similar to the commercially-sponsored bike-hire system in London.

Main difference between the schemes, is that anyone can set up and provide the bicycles, hence the Crowd-Provisioned, and all booking is done online, using SMS and using the existing payment system that comes with your phone.

Original article - here.

How it works - here.

Github project page - here.

@Matthias, it might be worth looking at what they’ve done for the booking system, as a possible extension to Makerfox. This would add in the capability to do direct payments using the mobile phone payment system.

Update, as of 11/03/15.

I had converstions with the organisers via email.

They’ve updated the Github page with copies of the costings that they ended up with.

While the figures are currently first-draft, they give a basic run-down on the costs of setting one of these projects up.

Going to bounce these numbers off some people that run bike co-op’s here in London. :smiley:


Total genius!

I’d like to try this one, if we get to operate in a small town.

Matera is not really suitable, because it is too hilly and people don’t really bike, unless for sport.

You could localise the maintenance, and run diagnostic maintenance classes, so that users could get a discount, if they can catch the future problems early enough, that it would extend the useful life-span of the bike.

The maintenance classes could also be aimed at the bike owners, so that their costs are minimised and spread locally.

(Note to self. Add in a bicycle maintenance module to the modular workshop designs.)

If you added in local fabricators for supplying the bikes made from locally-sourced materials, the bikes would qualify for carbon-reduction tax-credits.

There are existing schemes in the UK, where companies were getting tax-breaks for a “Bike To Work” scheme, so in theory, you could use this to help individuals to claim the same tax-break, and there will be similar national schemes throughout the EU.

Could we set up a system of aggregating the carbon-reduction efforts of each individual, which could then be counted towards that local area’s contribution to the national targets that we need to meet?

Framing it that way would mean that the set-up costs of one of these schemes would qualify for the Horizon2020 funding.


Are you sure about Horizon2020? Euro money is tied into a lot of bureaucracy, I have a hunch this might be too small for it. Can you do a back-of-the-envelope costing of a trial run?

Rather than using rough figures, I just emailed them about the costs that they ended up with.

From the web-page here, They’re looking for people to help them expand the scheme to other places.

Why not approach them directly about this project and the funding that’s available?

Way premature

I won’t approach them now, because I don’t have a client yet. On the other hand, it is true that, if I had a rough idea of a test run’s cost, it would make it marginally more likely that I would get a client! It’s one of those things that is good to know are around, in case they come handy at some point. smiley

Since they open-sourced the software, they’ll be likely to open the rest of the documentation, including the costings.

“Back-of-a-beer-mat” estimates for MVF,

  • 1 server with a good reliable connection.
  • 1 WIFI module with SMS capabilities,
  • 1 SIM card with free text messaging..
  • 1 bicycle
  • 1 combination lock

All of this equipment is stuff that we have available already, or is borrow-able.

We’d have to add in more equipment, and better quality equipment,  for the medium-to-long-term functionality, but for the initial playing-with-the-kit stage, it’ll do for a functionality demo.

@hexayurt, Would this be an interesting first App for Ethereum…?

Thanks a lot

Thanks, @Billy_Smith. This is info enough. Filing away and waiting for a chance to use it. smiley

I received a reply from them this morning.

I was right. They’re an Open-Source  project, so they were happy to share data.

It was roughly the same equipment list as above, though they suggested using an official SMS API provided by the mobile phone company, which would cut down on the hardware costs, though you’d then be tied to that mobile phone company’s infrastructure. Though, you could then negotiate a better rate. Six and half-a-dozen, for the cost/benefit ratio’s.

I’ll go talk to some bike shops i know…

Similar wide scale project

Here’s another initiative I ran into recently. Maybe it will be of interest to you. They are still at the beginning, but I think it looks promising.