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Villo loses users to free-floating bike and scooter shares

16:50 07/01/2020

The Brussels region’s bike-sharing scheme is losing users, who are turning to other mobility shares that allow more flexibility in picking up and dropping off. Villo, managed by the JC Decaux advertising agency under contract with the Capital-Region, saw a 20% dive in users last year compared to 2017 figures.

From January to June, an average of 114,300 trips were made on Villo bikes per month. In 2018, that figure was 130,500 and in 2017, it was 140,000.

Users appear to be more interested in free-floating schemes that allow them to pick up a bike or scooter based on a location app, and to drop them off wherever they want. Villo bikes must be picked up from and returned to designated racks.

Here to stay

Villo isn’t going anywhere, however, said Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt. “Villo bikes are still much cheaper than the free-floating schemes,” she confirmed.

A subscription to an electric Villo bike is €85 per year, which allows unlimited use. By comparison, a single use of a Uber Jump bike or the average scooter costs about €2.50 for less than four kilometres. So for regular commuters, or anyone needing transport more than 35 times a year, Villo is by far the best value.

“It’s important that such a public transport service remains in Brussels, in addition to the other services,” said Van den Brandt. “And we need to continue to improve the system.”

Photo: ©Siska Gremmelprez/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw