Smoove to provide Marrakesh with self-service bike-sharing scheme
Smoove becomes the first operator to provide an African city with bike-sharing program
Smoove won the tender organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to roll out a fleet of bike-sharing programs for COP22, the UN Climate Change Conference, which is taking place from 7th-18th November 2016 in Marrakesh.
Medina Bike, set up in partnership with local organization ‘Estates Vision’, will be the equivalent of Boris Bikes in Marrakesh and the first city in Africa to benefit from such a scheme. The fleet, of 300 bikes and around 10 stations, will be installed in the most emblematic locations of the city, such as Koutoubia or Majorelle Garden. The service will be inaugurated for COP22 and will be maintained over time with a renewable contract for an initial term of five years. Similar to Moscow, Helsinki and Vancouver, the low-cost Medina Bike model will include the contribution of a sponsor, which has not yet been selected.
Medina Bike is one of the ways to meet King Mohammed VI’s and the Moroccan Government’s goals on practical initiatives for sustainable development for COP 22. The project, which is an initiative of the Moroccan Ministry of the Environment, organized by UNIDO and funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), confirms Morocco’s commitment to the fight against the negative impact of climate change. The twenty-second session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) will bring together 197 states and, according to the organizers, will be the COP of action.
“Bikes were once one of the main means of transport in Marrakesh, but have gradually lost ground. We hope that Medina Bike will bring about a cycling revolution. We are very proud to have won this prestigious tender. It marks our commitment to promote self-service bike-sharing schemes for more pleasant, greener cities. Thank you Marrakesh! The so-called ‘red city’ has made Smoove the first bike-sharing provider in Africa!" explains Laurent Mercat, CEO of Smoove.
Smoove is one of the leading bike-share providers in the world thanks to its innovative solutions: robust, smart bikes with embedded communication technology (‘Smoove Box’) and light, free-standing stations powered by solar energy with no major or civil works required for installation. Smoove’s technological know-how has enabled it to offer an ‘overflow’ feature so that a bike can be returned even if the station is full. Thanks to these competitive advantages, Smoove has experienced accelerated international growth this year.
“This project in Marrakesh is the perfect way to end a very busy and successful year for Smoove. In spring, we installed a fleet of 1,500 bikes in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, followed by fleets in Vancouver, Canada, in July and in Shymkent and Almaty in Kazakhstan later in the summer. We also carried out the second phase of roll-out in Moscow where there are now more than 3,450 bikes!" comments Hélène Papa, Marketing and Communication Manager.
Well positioned to renew fleets in major cities
“Our facilities in major cities across the world theoretically make us a strong contender for the renewal of all the first generation contracts, such as Vélib in Paris," adds Laurent Mercat, CEO of Smoove. Competing for the tender alongside Indigo, Moventia and their new shareholder Mobivia, all experts in the field, Smoove has been selected in the competitive dialogue procedure to renew the “Vélib” fleet in Paris. Their bid is in progress and the operator will be chosen in April 2017.
Smoove generated €8 million (around £7.2million) in revenue in 2016. This revenue, like the number of employees, has doubled every two years since the company was formed. Their 2017 objectives are even more ambitious. Fifteen per cent of the revenue is reinvested in R&D to meet the demands of the city of the future (E Bike, bluetooth connection, mobile application, IoT, etc.) to better ‘facilitate sustainable mobility’.