You’ll never have to fix a flat or pay for repairs again. That’s what Swapfiets, which started renting out bikes in Rotterdam on 1 May, is promising you. The Delft company’s ‘granny bikes’ with distinctive blue front tyres can be leased for a fixed monthly rate.
Anyone can lease a bike with Swapfiets, for 15 euro per month, but students get a 3 euro discount. The rate also covers maintenance and working lights. Customers do pay an insurance excess of 40 euro if their bike gets stolen. Plus a 60 euro fine if they forgot to secure it with the included standard frame lock and connecting chain. Swapfiets hopes that this will encourage students to prevent theft.
The three Delft students started the company in 2014. Initially, they sourced their bikes from a classifieds site, and stuck to leasing in Delft itself. Their fleet is presently supplied by Union, and after finding a financial backer in August 2016, Swapfiets expanded its operations to other cities, including Nijmegen, Groningen, Utrecht, Leiden and Eindhoven. And now Rotterdam. Some 14 students presently work for Swapfiets’s Rotterdam branch. They leased 55 bicycles in their first week.