City bikes replacing public transport during coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus epidemic, and a shift to working from home, has seen a change to in how people use the popular yellow bikes in the capital city region.

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File picture of city bike station during autumn / Credit: News Now Finland

City bike users in the capital city region have changed the way they cycle this year, even though use of the distinctive yellow bikes has dropped by 20% during the coronavirus epidemic.

According to an HSL survey, one third of city bike users have replaced public transport in Helsinki and Espoo with the bicycles instead. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with more people working from home during the last eight months, the bikes have been used increasingly for fitness and work trips, but less for commuting to and from the office.

City bikes are most often used for leisure trips (80%) and shopping trips (63%) with about half the respondents saying they also used them for work trips, and 20% said they used them to keep fit.

“The importance of exercise on a city bike seems to have increased during the coronavirus  epidemic” says Tarja Jääskeläinen from HSL.

“The use of commuting has certainly decreased due to the increase in teleworking, but city bikes have been used for various business trips more than in the previous year” she adds.

The online survey was carried out in Finnish, Swedish and English from 24th to 30th September and about 13% of city bike customers took part.

The bikes were put out in Helsinki and Espoo earlier this year than planned at the start of spring, and will stay available until the end of October.