Last year Chloe did a video about the Condesa neighborhood and the use of the Ecobici. Just one year later, the system has already improved, which also warrants for some tips on the changes.
For those that haven’t seen the video, Chloe shared: “Ecobici is an extremely successful bicycle-sharing program that was introduced in 2010. The good news is that it is now available to tourists as well as residents!”
Back then you had to go to a Ecobici offices to get a user card. Today, the Ecobici stations are equipped with a system similar to an ATM where you can pay with your credit card and use the bike right away.
Residents and tourists can rent a bike for 1, 3 or 7 days ($90, $180 and $300 MXN respectively) without the hassle of waiting at the Ecobici offices to register as a user. The hassle of only being able to use a Mexican credit card is now eliminated as well. Machines will accept both national and international Mastercards or Visas.
Once you have submitted your payment, you are given the choice to select between 1, 3 or 7 days. Yo are then promoted to enter a code; either your unique code per use to use or the multi-use card that serves Metrobus, Metro and the trolleybus or electric tram service.
The system used to have 275 stations spread throughout 19 colonias, but today the availability has increased. In only 5 years, the Ecobici system has grown 400% due to user demand. Currently, they have 444 bike stations, more than 6,000 bikes and more than 100,000 users benefit from this service from Monday to Sunday inside a 35 km2 area.
When you use the Ecobici, you are allow to use it for 45 minutes at a time. To avoid fines, you must leave the bike back at a station before your time is up and wait 5 minutes before taking another one.
You should be aware of the traffic and drivers. The use of bicycles has been promoted only during the past 5 years and, even though a lot of bicycle lanes are available, some areas will take you on normal roads.
You have to be cautious when cycling in the city. If you happen to have a cycling helmet at home, bring it with you! Otherwise, there are plenty of shops in Mexico City where you can buy a helmet. Cycling has become very trendy in Mexico City, so you might even pick up a really cool and unique design.
Free Bikes are offered at certain locations around the city–next to the Cathedral, along Reforma and in Polanco, Condesa, Roma and Coyoacan. You can borrow a bicycle for 3 hours and you must return it to the same station where you picked it up.
On weekends they run out of bikes early, especially on Sundays when they close Reforma Avenue from 9 am to 2 pm. This is very practical and convenient, all you need is your passport.
The difference between that service and Ecobici is that Ecobici charges for the access to practical transportation in some of the tourist areas of the city and for the convenience of being able to pick up a bicycle at one station and drop it off at another.