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. These include:

  • Public Bike Share: Self-service on-street docking station
  • Dockless Bike Share
  • Workplace pool bikes
  • Railway station hubs
  • Bike Libraries / Loans
  • Bike share lockers
  • Peer to Peer sharing

This page provides short introductions, download the full Models of Bike Share document with the respective pros and cons of each model.

  • 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

  • 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 Lock and Dockless Bike Share

    Smart locks transfer the means to locate, release and pay for the bike via an app and the lock rather than the bike. Bikes can be located using an app and dropped off at any cycle parking facility creating a more open network of bikes than on-street docks.

    Smart lock schemes may be more suited to small to medium sized communities, business parks, housing developments and further education sites where the market may not be large enough to cover higher set up costs of docking stations and where there is a desire to avoid the extra administration and reduced flexibility of a staffed bike hub. 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. A dockless system can be managed with virtual geo-fencing to reduce street clutter.

    If you wish to know more about Smart Lock Bike Share please mail antonia(at)

  • Free-floating Bike Share

    Free-floating systems enable bikes to be dropped off at any location within a city or town’s boundaries. This system typically has similar characteristics to Smart Lock and Dockless Bike Share.  This model offers an opportunity for a potentially lower capital cost and convenient solution compared to on-street docking bike share, but may require greater rebalancing servicing.

  • 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 chris(at)

Models of Bike Share

Download document for print

Models of Bike Share (PDF)



About bike share


Shared Electric Bike Programme


Bike share map


UK Public Bike Share Stats

Total number of bikes: 17,354

Docking stations: 1,164

Users: 456,425 users (unique members & casual users)

Total trips: 10,744,419

Last updated (March 2017)

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