Geneva/Switzerland: The system of access to velostations annoys cyclists

Geneva/Switzerland: The system of access to velostations annoys cyclists

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Geneva, SwitzerlandThe system of access to velostations annoys cyclists

Occasional users of paid car parks find the internet application too complicated. The Parking Foundation promises a new version at the end of 2022.

The Montbrillant bike station was inaugurated in 2012.

Pascal Frautschi/TDG

“I wanted to park my two-wheeler at the bike station behind the station, it took me forever! Their system is really impractical,” complains Thomas. The Genevan spent a few evenings at Paléo. Wanting to get there by train, but not having any unpleasant surprises on his return, he registered in advance on Vélocity.ch, the web app that equips a large number of bicycle parking lots across Switzerland.

“In front of the velostation, the problems were linked: slow connection, untimely disconnection, impossible to resume a day if the first is not finished, obligation to have a physical SwissPass card, payment problems, lists the cyclist. I have the feeling that everything is done to encourage users to take out a subscription.” Annoyed, he opened up to an employee he met on the spot who “told him that he was assailed by complaints from users”.

“Too bad not to have put the means”

At work, one of his colleagues tells him that he too suffered some mishaps. “It’s so complicated the first time I used it that I left my bike outside to go take a train, says Jean. When I came back in the evening, a wheel had been stolen from me. Regular user despite this, he confirms that the system “is badly screwed up” and indicates “now anticipate by buying his days before moving”. For Jean, “it’s a shame not to have put the necessary resources into this application, because in the end, some velostations are half empty”.

Velocity.ch is an internet application (web app) which was developed by the Fondation des car parks de Genève in 2018. It is widely distributed in Switzerland, serving as a sesame for around forty velostations across the country. “For most Swiss velostations, it is the simplest, most suitable and least expensive system currently on the market”, judges Valérie Sauter, of the Forum Vélostation Suisse.

“Not user-friendly»

“It’s not very intuitive, not very ‘user friendly’ and improvements are needed,” she nuances, on the other hand. From her personal experience, Sabine Latour, member of the ATE Geneva steering committee, retains a “long and complicated process. For tourists or occasional use, it’s not ideal.” She feels a desire to favor the offer of long-term subscriptions, rather than the satisfaction of occasional users.

On the side of the Parking Foundation, the director general, Damien Zuber, recognizes that users can be “confused during a first use or if it is occasional, but once registered, it is very simple”. The manager recalls that the Foundation has chosen to develop a web app rather than an app, in particular for cost reasons. “It’s about remaining financially accessible to institutions that want to equip themselves, especially for small bike stations,” he continues.

New version for the end of 2022

Damien Zuber also indicates that he receives only a few complaints, but is “very attentive” to them. He announces that the Parking Foundation has worked “to improve the user experience”. “At the end of 2022, we will switch to a new, more flexible version of the system.” For those accustomed to daily purchases in a particular velostation, it will make it possible to purchase the daily service in a single click, without having to search again for the velostation and the service. An option to buy days in advance is being studied for 2023. “But care must be taken not to lose the user in too many manipulations and options.”


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