Founded in November 2016, Medina Bike already boasts 5,000 users and a partnership with the Moroccan government.
There are 300 bikes stationed at 10 locations throughout Marrakech available for use at any time of day, and ambassadors of the company are always contactable should there be any problems.
Founder Lebna El Hakym says that whilst the target audience was originally tourists, more locals than tourists now use them.However for a day’s pass at MAD50 or an annual pass at MAD500, the bikes are not cheap. Despite costing more than the bike-sharing system in France, the bike usage remains steady and the costlier price helps counter theft and vandalism.
This scheme is possible thanks to its partnership with Morocco’s Ministry for the Environment. Morocco’s government is eager to make the country more eco-friendly, and intends for renewable energy to make up 50% of its energy consumption, including in the area of transport.
Whilst there are other sources of green transport available in Morocco like electric cars yet, they pose problems. Electric cars can suffer under Morocco’s hot summer temperatures, they are impractical for narrow medina streets, and public opinion needs to change. Consequently bikes are the way forward.
Smoove, the French company credited with its expansion in Morocco, coincided the launch with the annual climate conference COP22.
As for the future, the bikes will remain in Marrakech until at least 2021, and Smoove hopes to expand its reach across Africa in the future, potentially to countries including Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.