Algarve - Vilamoura shared bicycle scheme

The shared bicycle use system which started 11/2 weeks ago at Vilamoura in the Algarve has already allowed holidaymakers to ride around for 1,700 hours.

Vilamoura AlgarveSince the launch of the Vilamoura Public Bikes project, a total of 1,700 hours of usage has been logged and 800 cards sold, exceeding the expectations of the municipal organization, Inframoura.

Inframoura President, Nuno Ramos, said "It has been absolutely fantastic how the public have joined the scheme", adding that the network in service includes 32 stations, 200 bicycles and cycle routes totalling 20 kms.

Each station has parking docks for bicycles, each having a post to read the electronic user cards obtainable at the Inframoura head office or its website.

Up to the end of this year, each customer can obtain a free card with no charge bicycle usage for one month, and it can be charged with an annual amount of €30, granting the card holder an unlimited number of periods each lasting a maximum of 45 minutes.
 Now that the Public Bikes scheme is operating, Loulé Mayor, Seruco Emídio hopes that the investments made to redevelop the Vilamoura public areas will be better appreciated by the general public, and he admits that the network may be extended throughout the entire council area's coastal region.

"It makes sense for us to study the possibility of expanding the cycle routes to neighbouring Quarteira since it is a flat area, especially in view of the busy vehicle traffic between the two zones and the simplicity of establishing a connecting cycle route" he explained.

As for the inland council area, the mayor mentioned that a similar project could be of interest to the city of Loulé.

As he pointed out, "We have about 600 kms. of eco-routes, pedestrian pathways, including the Algarve-wide Via Algarviana eco-route, a whole host of trails to attract tourists and residents to have healthy habits".

Seruca Emídio stated that this project strengthens the exceptional features the council area enjoys in the spheres of leisure, sport and contacts with nature - a trilogy that he considers vital in differentiating tourist destinations.

The Secretary of State for the Environment and Land Planning, who was in Vilamoura today to take a cycle ride, praised the new shared bicycle use system introduced by the local authority.

In comments to Lusa after his cycle ride alongside those in charge of the project, Secretary of State Pedro Afonso de Paulo considered the scheme of great merit and praised the improvements to the Vilamoura area and its public streets and pathways with a view to encouraging the use of environmentally interesting facilities as well as stimulating leisure and sports pursuits.

"Sometimes we only need a little imagination to transform investments that are already channelled towards certain areas to make them more sustainable and more environmentally friendly", added Senhor Paulo.

In July and August, the system operates from 7:00am to 2:00am, and during the remaining months from 8:00am to 8:00pm. It is available to local owners of residences and businesses as well as tourists staying in Vilamoura.

source: inframoura.pt

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