Cities across the world, including New York, London and Berlin have launched bike sharing programs as sustainable transportation alternatives that ease traffic congestion and improve public health. As demand for bike sharing increases, new challenges arise for service providers. Making bikes available when and where people need them is essential, but not easy. One concept that is becoming more popular are cycle hubs, especially in the UK. A cycle hub is a cycling centre around which various facilities come together: e.g. cycle parking, bike repair facilities, cycling information—multiple services to support the cyclist. Security and safety is a key aspect, if you want people to use the hub. See how the Tapkey technology enables mobile access to the bike hub itself, bikes and helmet lockers.

The Entrance Door of the Bike Hub

Am I safe? Will my bike be safe? This is core thinking for any cyclist. Providers of cycle hubs need to think of what kind of access they want to use and how to manage it. Once an electronic lock is installed, there are a lot of possibilities: key fobs, keypads, biometrics or smartphone. Securing the entrance door at the cycle hub with a cloud-based access control system, adds another security layer for expensive e-bikes and cycles. Once the cyclists are granted access to the cycle hub, they can simply enter the station with their smartphone. Just with one click.

The Bike Itself

But there is more potential for mobile access in cycle hubs. Just think of the bikes themselves. Many bike sharing operators also offer e-bikes that are way more expensive and need to be secured properly. At the moment, there are two major types of locking technology:

  1. Locking a bike to a rack where users collect and drop bikes using a credit card or other card with a magnetic strip. 
  2. Securing bikes with an electronic lock mounted to it, where users need to contact the operating company to receive a code to the lock. 

A much easier solution would be using mobile-enabled bike smart locks that can communicate with the bike sharing software as well. The user enters the bike hub using his smartphone and then unlocks the bike with it as well. What a convenience!

The Helmet Lockers

Additionally, providers of cycle hubs could consider offering additional services for cyclists. Why not provide secure lockers for bags, helmets and other accessories? This would be a real help to cyclists. They can store all their valuables in this locker, while going for a ride. Hence, it’s another touchpoint where they can unlock these lockers with their smartphone. 

A Holistic Solution For Bike Sharing Providers

Mobile access in the bike sharing industry will lead to significant service improvements. The best way is to offer a holistic solution to the end customers for best user experience. This is how it works: A lock manufacturer integrates their bike lock with our Lock SDK. A bike sharing platform integrates Tapkey via open API and Mobile SDK. The bike sharing operator is using the bike sharing software and can grant end customers access to bike hubs, bike smart locks and much more. The end customers benefit from using just one app and can unlock everything with their smartphone.

The integration makes it possible for a bike sharing provider to identify who is using the bike, ensuring that only riders who have paid for the service are able to unlock and operate them.

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