TINK, or (Transportrad Initiative Nachhaltiger Kommunen – Cargo bike Initiative of Sustainable Communities), is a cargo bike sharing initiative based in two German cities. 24 cargo bikes and trikes have been made available to members of the public in the northern city of Norderstedt, whilst in the south 24 more are available in the University town of Konstanz. The two cities were chosen for the project because of the already high levels of cycling there.
Having begun in summer 2016, TINK is initially a 2-year pilot project and is part of the National Cycling Plan 2020 (NRVP). Funding mostly comes from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), with a small amount coming from the two municipalities. The scheme will be monitored and data analysed by partner teams of mobility experts and environmental psychologists.
Registration is free for users, as is the first 30 minutes of use. After this the costs kick in, although they are minimal: it’s €1 for every 30mins, up to a maximum of €9 per 24 hour period. Cargo bikes can be rented at one on-street hire station and left at another, wit
hout penalty. The bikes are unlocked with a code sent to the user via a smartphone app, SMS, telephone hotline or on the website. Frequent users can buy an electronic chip key for €5.
In Konstanz, the initial aim was to have 1,500 users after two years; this had been surpassed after only six months, with 1,744 users already having signed up for the service. In Norderstedt the service is run by bike sharing company Nextbike and in Konstanz by fahrradspezialitaeten.com.
The scheme is being promoted in novel ways. A fake bank robbery carried out, naturally, by cargo bike was covered by German press and caught the attention of Guerilla Marketing gurus. No less conventional, but perhaps more ambitious, was TINK Project Leader Marco Walter and colleague Nathalie Niekisch’s effort. Together they embarked on a 14-day, 1,000km ride from Konstanz to Norderstedt dubbed “TINK on TOUR”, using cargo bikes from the scheme. This occured in November of 2016; a strong demonstration that cargo bikes are suitable for heavy use all year round. On the way they stopped in ten cities (Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Marburg, Kassel, Hanover and Hamburg) and held information sessions explaining the scheme to the municipalities and other interested parties. A full report on the tour is available here in German (link opens pdf).
The municipalities of Konstanz and Norderstedt will take ownership of the bikes after the pilot and are already making arrangements for the service to continue beyond the 2 years. The concept is likely to be rolled out to other German cities following the trial period.
Innovations: Sharing, Public Sector involvement as a catalyst
City: Konstanz and Norderstedt
Bike Manufacturer(s): Bakfiets.nl
Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik – Fahrradportal: “TINK – Transportrad Initiative nachhaltiger Kommunen” (German)
Hamburger Abendblatt: “Norderstedt startet großes Transport-Radsystem” (German)
SÜDKURIER: “Mietbare Lastenräder sind ein Erfolg in Konstanz” (German)
shz.de “30 Minuten kostenlos: Norderstedt vermietet Lastenräder per App” (German)
TINK: “”TINK on TOUR” (German)(opens pdf)
Stadt Konstanz: “Sprudel-Sprinter und Hörnle-Hopper: Konstanz startet TINK Transportrad-Mietsystem” (German)(opens pdf)
Stadt Norderstedt: “Stadt Norderstedt startet größtes Mietsystem für Transport-Fahrräder in Deutschland” (German)(opens pdf)