The concept of bike sharing is quite popular in Germany and a great way to meet friends, do last minute grocery shopping or get the spirit of a city without any traffic jam
The non-tourist bike sharing is also known under the name of "Fahrradverleihsystem". In many cases, the local government is responsible for the provision and so bike sharing is ultimately a political action for greater sustainability. The desired side effect is the fact that the number of bicycle thefts is minimized.
The availability of bike sharing is Germany's gets increasingly better. Rent-a-bike stations are often located at the main railway stations, they are called "Fahrradmietstationen" from which a bicycle can be borrowed around the clock. The principle corresponds broadly to the car-sharing model. Participants must register via an online portal, usually pay an initial deposit and provide their personal data as well as a method of payment for ongoing rental transactions.
The resulting account is associated with an identification number and, thanks to a customer card, any use of the bike sharing are billed accurately. However, the costs keep within a narrow range.
The bikes are secured with an electric bike lock. This can be released by a previously sent code or by signing up via mobile phone or, when located in a dedicated station, via a touch terminal. In many cases, this requires not even to return the bike to dedicated stations, but the bikes can be deposited and found throughout the entire area of a city. In this case, the interested party receives the location of the nearest bicycle.
There are basically only two big market players: the Deutsche Bahn AG with its subsidiary DB Rent GmbH and the service "Call a bike" with their website in German only and nextbike GmbH. nextbike offers an English website.
A subsidiary of DB Rent GmbH, a company of the Deutsche Bahn group
More than 250 stations.
Present in Aachen, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Karlruhe, Köln, München, Stuttgart and at further 50 ICE railway stations.
- The first 30 minutes of each rental period are free of charge for all customers.
- Thereafter each minute 0,08 EUR.
- The 5.00 EUR registration fees are converted into a rental balance.
- For clients of HVV and owners of a BahnCard there are special rates.
Also DB Rent GmbH, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG.
More than 70 stations.
Present in Hamburg only. Same conditions as above - just a different name. Call a Bike clients can use Konrad Kassel without additional registration.
More than 150 stations.
Present in Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim a.d.R.
Billing period is 30 minutes each (1.00 EUR). There are long-term rates (full day ticket - 9.00 EUR, or a yearly abonnement for 48 EUR with the first 30 min free of charge, each additional 30 min 0.50 EUR). For clients of the VRR special rates are available.
Same provider as above.
More than 100 stations.
Present in Augsburg, Berlin, Bielefeld, Coburg, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Erfurt, Flensburg, Frankfurt, Gütersloh, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig, Magdeburg, München, Norderstedt, Offenbach, Offenburg, Potsdam, Tübingen.
The conditions are the same as for the above provider.
Another nextbike company.
More than 100 stations.
Present in Mainz only.
They charge 1,40 for per 30 minutes with diverse discounts (ie. if you hold a monthly railway ticket).