Tel Aviv announced it is terminating its contract with Tel-O-Fun bicycle rental service in August due to the increasing popularity of electric bikes and scooters.
Tel Aviv Municipality data shows that the number of people subscribed to the Tel-O-Fun service has gradually declined in the past several months, from 2,035 subscribers in November 2019 to 1,625 in March 2020.
In addition, the number of times subscribers used the service plunged from 34,000 in November to 12,000 in March.
The municipality said that the lack of demand led to the early termination of its contract with Tel-O-Fun – instead of ending the contract in January 2021 as slated, it will be terminated in August of this year.
The municipality said that it is examining operating an electric bike service that would allow subscribers to ride longer distances within the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said of the decision: “When the private markets offer good alternatives for communal bike riding, there’s no justifications to invest public funds in a service for which demand is low. Similar to the public phones that became obsolete and were removed from public areas, so is the case with [the Tel-O-Fun service].”
Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi, who also holds the transportation portfolio in the municipality, said that “Tel Aviv will continue paving bike paths with full force throughout the city, as well launching PR and pilot projects to encourage the use of bikes as a means of transportation in Tel Aviv.”
Tel Aviv launched the Tel-O-Fun service in 2011, with an initial investment of some 40 million shekels. In the beginning, the service included 250 bikes that were spread out between 35 Tel-O-Fun stations across the city. Later, over 1,860 bikes were distributed between some 186 designated stations in Tel Aviv and its suburbs. Since the inception of the service, 14 million Tel-O-Fun bike rides were registered.