Muscat: Following the enthusiasm for cycling generated by the Tour of Oman, Muscat Municipality has launched the trial run of the O'Bike plan — the first self-service bicycle system in Oman.
To be located on Muttrah Corniche, this trial bicycle station with 10 bicycles will run till
May 16. People can borrow the bicycles free of charge, from 4pm to 8pm every day.
Launched by Chris Froome (Sky Pro cycling), the 2013 Tour of Oman winner, and Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi and Eddy Merckx, the O'Bike is an initiative to implement the Muscat Municipality's vision to transform Muscat into a city of healthy people and to build on the momentum that the Tour of Oman has generated to promote cycling in Muscat.
By showing an ID card or passport to the operator, members of the public can borrow both a bicycle and a helmet, which must be returned after use, to the O'Bike station.
Feedback on the system will be collected by the operators JCDecaux Oman and will allow Muscat Municipality to assess the service and consider a city-wide development of the scheme. Bicycle users will be encouraged to share their feedback on the system.
The O'Bike concept is based on the famous Parisian 'Velib', which today has over 20,000 self-service bicycles located around the city.
If the trial is successful, the O'Bike scheme is expected to help promote eco-friendly transport systems and a regular physical exercise regimen.
Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi, Chairman of Muscat Municipality, lauded the initiative saying, "Muscat is growing and it is our responsibility to ensure a sustainable development of the city. We are looking forward to hearing the public's feedback following this trial period. We hope this self-service bicycle system will be a great success and that we can expand it to the whole city at a rapid pace."
David Bourg, Managing Director Middle East, JCDecaux, said: "One of our goals is to contribute to the development of innovative services that improve the quality of life in cities. We believe this project will fully benefit the citizens of Muscat."