UPDATE 16th January 2015:
Ecobici is currently in the process of updating 60% its Ecobici stations (specifically those located in tourist areas) with a credit card reader so that tourists can hire a bike for 1, 3 or 7 days ($90, $180 and $300 MXN respectively) without the hassle of queuing in the Ecobici offices to register and without the need for a Mexican credit/debit card. Machines will accept both national and international Mastercard or Visa. The service will be available late January 2015.
Just look out for the posts that have what looks like an ATM keypad and card slot, insert your card and read the terms and conditions carefully before accepting. You will then be given the choice to chose 1, 3 or 7 days before being offered the option of being allocated either a unique code to use each time you hire a bike, or of using a previously purchased multi-use card that serves Metrobus, Metro and the electric tram service.
Don’t forget to check the tips below for advice on safety and avoiding fines!
Registering for the Ecobici service for those who hold a Mexican bank card
- You may only use an Ecobici for 45 minutes at a time. You must return it to your nearest station within that time and wait 5 minutes before swiping your card again to be allocated another bicycle. You will be fined if you fail to adhere to these rules!
- If you do not return the Ecobici within 24 hours, $5000 MXN will be charged to your credit card so avoid using it as cheap transport home after a night out and falling asleep with it in your hallway!
Using your Ecobici
- You will see that each station has a welcome screen. Swipe your card against the screen and you will be allocated a number. You will also notice that a small light begins to flash green beside your allocated bicycle.
- Remove your bike from its slot. If it is night-time, the lights should automatically turn on. If not, replace the bike and swipe your card again in order to be allocated a different one.
- Your seat should be easily adjustable by pulling out the bar below the seat and moving the seat up or down to suit your height.
- If upon removing your bike from its slot, you notice that it is faulty, the seat cannot be adjusted, the lights don’t come on immediately during darkness etc. Replace it immediately and wait for the light to turn red. Go back to the screen and swipe your card again to be allocated a different bike.
- When allocated a faulty bike, those in the know return it immediately with the saddle turned back-to-front as a kind way of informing the next user.
- Having returned you bike to the station, always swipe your card again to check that your bike has been properly returned. You should see the message “La bicicleta fue devuelta correctamente“. If not, or if the light has not turned red, go back and check that the bike cannot be removed and is firmly in place. I have heard stories of people putting stones in the holes to prevent the bike from clicking into place then stealing it as soon as the user has walked away believing they have correctly returned the bike.
- On Sundays, Reforma Avenue as well as a number of streets in La Condesa are closed to motorists to make way for hundreds of cyclists, skaters, rollerbladers etc. Make the most of this chance to cycle all the way into the Historic Centre without worrying about impatient drivers.
Maps and Apps
- A free Ecobici app is available so you can check your nearest station etc on the move. Whatever your phone you will find a list of apps here: https://www.ecobici.df.gob.mx/en
- I highly recommend using Google maps to plan your journey before leaving the house while simultaneously checking the Ecobici website’s map of Ecobici stations: https://www.ecobici.df.gob.mx/en/stations-map. This way you can check which Ecobici station is nearest to your destination before setting out.