Always losing the key to your bike lock? Tired of having to purchase an extra BVG ticket for your two-wheeled companion? With the return of spring, Deutsche Bahn’s Call A Bike emerges from its period of hibernation to make cycling a responsibility-free experience.
All you need to do is find a randomly parked DB bike, check that the green ‘availability’ light is on, telephone for the lock code and off you go: you can call this bicycle your own for as long as you wish. In other German cities like Stuttgart and Hamburg, customers need to return their bikes to designated “Fix” bike stations, but laid-back Berlin operates on the “Flex” system: you can simply leave your bike at any larger intersection and, after ringing the hotline to receive your Quittungscode, leave all commitment behind. Of course, freedom comes at a price – BahnCard customers pay €o.o6 per minute and the rest pay €0.08, although this is capped at €9 for 24 hours.
But this might soon change because Deutsche Bahn is launching the test phase of “Stadtrad Berlin”: in March, 300 customers will try out bikes in both the “Flex” and “Fix” systems (the latter will function out of 11 rental stations in the city centre). And no matter which method wins, the new system will be simpler, as customer cards are destined to replace all those phone calls.
Call a Bike | Tel 0700 0522 5522, www.callabike-interaktiv.de