Tel-O-Fun (Finally) Brings Bike Sharing to Tel Aviv

tel aviv bike sharing tel-o-funThanks to Tel-O-Fun, now Tel Aviv urbanites with the tiniest of apartments can bike around without the storage hassle.

Despite widespread announcements that it would open its city-wide bike sharing service in April, Tel Aviv’s Tel-O-Fun finally got kick started in May (but, to its credit, in a bigger way than originally intended).  150 stations and 1500 bikes were made available for shared use by the public earlier this month in an effort to encourage the already growing trend of cycling in Tel Aviv.  (Biking has become such a popular mode of transportation that some cafes offer free bike rentals alongside delicious coffee.)

The service brings an almost kibbutz-like attitude to pedaling – users pick up bikes when they want them and where they want them, and drop them off as soon as they’re done with the idea being that the bikes should be readily available for anyone and everyone.

"tel aviv bike map"With Tel-O-Fun still very new, though, the service isn’t as easy to use yet as it hopefully will be.  Only annual subscribers to the service can currently use the bikes, but the daily and weekly subscriptions are set to open soon as well.

It is also doesn’t look as safe right now as it hopefully will turn out to be.  Tel-O-Fun supplies bikes (some of which are even equipped with kids’ seats), but not helmets.  The service offers helmets for personal purchase through its website, to be delivered by mail, but daily and weekly users who want to pick up a bike on a whim and go will not have helmets available to them at the Tel-O-Fun stations.

These issues aside, it is yet to be seen if Tel Avivians are going to go for the bike-sharing thing the way that people in European cities such as Paris, Barcelona, and London have.

In the two weeks since the service went live, this Green Prophet has only seen one person on a Tel-O-Fun bike.  Admittedly, I’m a little wary to try it myself until the daily and weekly subscriptions become available.  But once they do, I have a feeling that more people are going to be riding around on those (appropriately colored) green bikes.

: Tel-O-Fun

Read more about cycling and bike sharing in Tel Aviv::
Doha and Tel Aviv Launch Two-Wheel Options for Urban Transportation
Cicleta Sprint Bicycle Messengers Take Over Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv Cafes Offer Great Cappuccinos and Free Bike Rentals

Image via: Victor Bezrukov

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7 thoughts on “Tel-O-Fun (Finally) Brings Bike Sharing to Tel Aviv”

  1. Mrs T says:

    I live in Modiin, where there are great bike paths and terrible public transportation. Any news about whether the tel O fun is considering opening up in Modiin ?

    Also, after a small not serious accident with my bike http://mygoinggreenblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/exercise-learning-lessons.html , I’m taking helmets more seriously, and wondering if Tel O fun considered renting helmets along with the bikes ?

  2. Hi keren
    just a quick comment on your tel O fun article.
    I liked it.
    We are now about one month after launching the system (Yes, the “WE” stands for One of the owners of the contracting company) and we have 2300 daily users with more than 4000 subscribers. we expect to introduce the daily/weekly option towards to end of August and , hey… don’t be afraid, take a bike… 🙂

    1. Hope you start filling ALL your stations with bikes too. So many of them are empty.

  3. I really like the idea. Name – kacha kacha.

  4. I think the name is dumb. Enlighten me. Anyone?

  5. Alethea says:

    As a new subscriber and resident of Tel Aviv, I am absolutely THRILLED to have this new service. I used it four times yesterday. While out, I rode past several others on Tel-O-Fun bikes as well.

    I have no relationship with whomever finally implemented this program here. I only used the Paris system a couple times while on vacation.

    While I agree with your point about safety, I think the REAL issue is the need to put pressure on the city of Tel Aviv to make the connection of bike lanes a priority. Drivers in this city are not only dangerous, they are intentionally malicious. There need to be safe, designated, and connected bike paths all throughout the city. Expecting cyclists to ride on sidewalks is as dangerous to pedestrians as cars are to cyclists.

    I sincerely hope that the author here, and many others, will give bicycle sharing a chance. The bikes are great. The service is easy to use (as long as they keep the touch screens working properly). Programs like this can improve the quality of life for all of us in the city. Imagine, less traffic, less polution, getting to your destination quicker and cheaper, and LESS NOISE!

    It is possible. But you have to give it a chance.

  6. Any sense of when the daily/weekly service might start…?

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