Innovation That Matters

Subscription service allows cyclists to swap their bike when it breaks

Travel & Tourism

Dutch service Swapfiets means cyclists will never have to go without their bike while it is in for repair.

The woes of a cyclist in fear of damaging their tyres or having their bike stolen could be a thing of the past with Holland-based bicycle subscription service Swapfiets. The initiative, which translates in English as ‘swap bike’, costs EUR 15 a month and says a new bike will be delivered within 12 hours in the event of a problem that cannot be fixed in 15 minutes.

The company guarantees subscribers will not be without a bike for longer than 48 hours, including if it is stolen, and every bike has a blue front wheel to make it distinguishable. The cost covers the rent of the city bike, locks, insurance and access to a support team, in addition to a discount for students. This discount is inspired by the entrepreneurs behind the scheme, who are themselves three students. The service started with just thirty bikes on Dutch eBay Marktplaats and has grown to more than 5,000 bicycles in 9 cities in the Netherlands. It is particularly popular in student cities such as Utrecht, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam, with students making up 80 percent of Swapfiets’ market. An extra 20,000 bikes are waiting to be delivered in the next 3 months.

Subscription services are growing in popularity among millenials who may otherwise struggle to pay out a lump sum for a luxury. Other sign up services such as a subscription that delivers all-black basic clothes to your door every month and a Canadian company that allows customers to rent designer clothes and accessories have gained popularity of late. What subscription services would you be interested in?



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