May 30, 2024

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An election stunt that the mayor of Madrid is completely out of control: he loses hundreds of shared electric bikes

An election stunt that the mayor of Madrid is completely out of control: he loses hundreds of shared electric bikes

It should have contributed to a resounding electoral victory: the arrival in Madrid of a new and temporarily empty system of shared electric bicycles. With hundreds of bikes off the radar, Mayor Martínez Almeida is fueling anger rather than voting.

Dion Mebius

Empty racks without exception, randomly thrown away or even lost bikes and many thousands of deeply frustrated users. No, Madrid’s mayor had to admit on Tuesday: His campaign around the bismad, as the Spanish capital’s shared electric bike is called, has not yet been a success. “I will not deny that there is a problem,” said Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida. But he added, in an attempt to save face, “stems from an ambitious project.”

An enhanced and free shared bike

This “ambitious project” is the launch of the Bicimad 2.0, the successor to the shared electric bike that Madrid began using in 2014. The nearly 3,000 Bicimads were very welcome in the mountainous city and therefore difficult to ride, but the growing number of defective and broken bikes has become a nuisance among Madrilenians in recent years.

Although this decline has been unfolding under his leadership since 2019, Martínez-Almeida has smelled electoral opportunities. In the run-up to the regional and municipal elections in Spain on May 28, the right-wing conservative mayor has decided to present himself as the great bicycle savior. The improved Bicimad was built using steam and boiling water, which the mayor personally presented to the press on 6 March. As an added gesture, use new and older shared bikes for free through August.

Two different systems

The result is an amazing mess. Since the currently 800 new shared bikes do not fit in the charging stations of the old Bicimads, and the old bikes do not fit in the new charging stations, confused users leave their bikes everywhere on the street. According to the newspaper El Pais Madrid was He lost his 500 bike after only one weeka problem that has since gotten worse due to many empty shelves.

It’s possible that a handful of new users may have accessed the temporarily free shared bikes: Not everyone seems to understand that bikes have to go back to their charging stations, the city council grumbles. To limit the damage caused by the failed election campaign, the council sent ten teams of two municipal employees each. They roam the city in 24-hour shifts in pickup trucks, looking for bikes lost in Martínez-Almeida.

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