Models of Bike Share

From on-street docking stations to workplace bike pools

A variety of creative ways to provide shared access to bikes are emerging across the world for communities of all sizes. There is a challenge in creating typologies as the difference between the models are blurring but Bikeplus has summarised bike share into the following categories:

  • Public Bike Share: Self-service on-street docking station
  • Smart bikes and geo-fencing
  • Free-floating (dock less) bike share
  • Workplace pool bikes
  • Railway station hubs
  • Bike Libraries / Loans
  • Bike share lockers
  • Peer to Peer sharing

For further detail, examples, and latest updates on new models please contact antonia(at)

  • Public Bike share: Self-service on-street docking stations

Bikes are placed in clusters of 5-20 fixed to docking stations framework by various forms of attachment. Docks are placed in key locations around the town/city and regular intervals in between for convenience. The dock may include a terminal to release the bike or the technology may also be located on the bikes.The bikes can be returned to any dock to end the hire and with some technology it is possible to lock them on cycle parking stands if the dock is full. Typically, pricing models encourage half hour short hop hires although they can be hired for longer.
warwick 1

  •  Smart bikes and geo-fencing (dockless) bike share

    Smart bikes transfer the means to locate, release and pay for the bike via an app and the bike rather than the dock. The need for a docking station to host the technology and park each bike is less common in new schemes now as there is move to create “infrastructure light” solutions. Typically, “smart bikes” are now employed in conjunction with either: a specially branded cycle hoop, traditional cycle parking or geo-fencing with no hard infrastructure.

    Managing systems with virtual geo-fencing is an important tool to reduce the risk of street clutter and obstructions. The system won’t allow for bike hires to be ended outside of the virtual fence or alternatively, a geo-fence can be used to prevent parking in a no-go busy area.  Using geo-fenced areas may also help to ensure locating a bike is predictable and reliable as extra beacons can be added to triangulate the GPS location data. In addition, an area-wide geo-fence is employed around a whole city or borough to restrict the bikes being taken to another area.


life Brighton Pier            Copy of Mobike-46

In some cities docking station terminals are used in key locations to supplement the geo-fenced stations. Some systems allow for parking outside the geo-fenced area with penalties. Contact Bikeplus for latest examples.

  • Free-floating bike share (dockless bike share with no geo-fence)

    Free-floating systems deploy smart bikes but allow the bikes to be dropped off at any location within a city or town’s boundaries. A set of guidelines are provided on how to safely park a bike without causing obstructions.

  • Workplace pool bikes

    For many years bikes have been offered in a shared capacity at workplaces and in communities. Typically the bikes are all stored in one location and the keys are accessed via a designated person or through a key safe. Sometimes bikes can be booked by the hour or alternatively hubs can offer longer loans. Community hubs are often combined with other cycling services such as secure parking, route advice and maintenance or wider transport information. Smart locks are now available to add to a fleet of existing or non-bike share bike provide multi-user self-service access. They can be configured to fit the local needs with a choice of tariffs and back to base or one way hires. Smart locks can be used with a uniform fleet of bikes to look like public bike share or with a mix of pool bikes and users’ own bikes

  • Railway Station Hubs

    Bike hire at rail stations serve to offer an alternative onward travel mode. They are also used as a central location for community bike hire. Some offer back to base hires while others can be returned to other stations, in both cases the pricing model encourages full day hire.

    Bike & Go promo cropped
  •  Bike Libraries / Loans

    The concept of bike libraries is a relatively new one although many places have offered the loan of a cycle as a “try before you buy” strategy for some time. Bikes are held in a diverse range of community locations including traditional libraries and sports centres or are brought into the community using mobile transport.

    IMG_0103 -1ed
  • Bike Share Lockers

    The locker model is similar to the docking station bike share scheme in that it offers self-service on-street access. Locker schemes are often back to base which can restrict the audience although some are one-way hire.

    Brompton Dock GSK House 20a
  • Peer to Peer Sharing

    Peer-to-peer bike sharing is the sharing of individually owned bikes with other people on an adhoc basis akin to Airbnb. For owners the attraction comes from making money from renting your bike when it is sitting idle. For users, the attraction is the option to choose from a diverse range of bikes, either to avoid taking their own bike to a new location or only paying a small fee to borrow a bike instead of buying and maintaining one.


    If you wish to know more about these models of Bike Share get in contact at antonia(at)


Models of Bike Share



About bike share


Shared Electric Bike Programme


Bike share map


UK Public Bike Share Stats

Locations: 26 locations

Total number of bikes: 22,412

Users: 626,136 users (unique members & casual users)

Average trips per day in UK: 47,710 per day

Available data from quarter ending December 2017

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