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Billy is a Brussels based start-up offering a shared electric bicycle service, via its mobile app.
The company was a world pioneer in this innovation by launching the first full-scale tests in 2017. Since January 2019, the service has been available to the general public, with a fleet of 600 bikes in Brussels.
Its main mission since its beginning remains the same: to improve the quality of life in Brussels. A mission supported by a community of committed users and over 100 Belgian investors.
In one year, tens of thousands of journeys have been made, enabling the company to refine its model and amplify its impact on the city. It is now preparing the next stage of its growth, which it aims to finance through this campaign.
A first crowdfunding was already organised in 2018 for its public launch. Today, Billy wants to welcome to its capital even more investors willing to get involved in its development, in order to transform urban mobility and improve the quality of life in our capital and many other cities thereafter.
- Congestion: Brussels is the 15th most congested city in the world. In addition, 58% of the public surface is devoted to cars, which takes away vital space from pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and nature.
- Air quality: Road transport is the second highest emitting sector, responsible for more than 26% of greenhouse gas emissions in the Brussels Region.
- Public transport coverage: Public transport is an excellent alternative to the car, but it is not enough to replace it: connections can be time-consuming and the frequency is often insufficient.
- Storage and theft of bicycles: The inhabitants of Brussels often don't have the space to have a bicycle at home and theft remains a scourge that keeps them from locking their bicycles in the street.
- Physical effort: In Brussels, half of all car journeys are less than 5 km long and could therefore be done by bicycle. But the hilly profile of the city and the longer journeys require a physical effort that many people are not prepared to make on a daily basis.
During the first week of confinement, an 85% reduction in car traffic was observed. The air quality in our city has improved considerably and cycling is making a comeback on the streets of Brussels.
Such a Brussels is possible in the long term. But the city needs mobility services like Billy.
The service: Billy offers a dockless e-bike sharing system. At any time, a user can locate, reserve and unlock one of the 600 electric bikes available in Brussels, all through their smartphone. After their ride, the user can drop the bike off anywhere in the covered area, which today reaches across a third of the Region.
The bike: The company has designed and developed its own bike and on-board technology, specially optimised for sharing. It is one of the only European companies to have developed such a product based on three years of field experience.
Operations: Billy charges its bikes by replacing empty batteries with charged ones. This is done with the help of cargo bikes that carry the batteries and cleaning equipment. Another team, also on bikes, carries out small repairs in the streets. Only the bikes that need more attention are collected and repaired in the company's workshop.
Parking: Billy's team works closely with the public authorities and their user community to ensure a respectful coexistence with all of Brussels’ citizens . The user is responsible for correctly securing his bike at the end of each rental period. The measures put in place since the opening of the service are bearing fruit: it is extremely rare to come across a badly parked Billy and the theft rate is negligible.
The user pays €0.20 per minute of use. Billy does not charge any activation fee, unlike other shared bike and scooter players. An average journey lasts 12 minutes and therefore generates a revenue of €2.40.
Subscription plans, soon to be available in the application, allow users to reduce this price per minute.
This year, Billy has also started responding to calls for tenders to provide its service and technology to cities and regions in Belgium and Europe.
Billy's service gives Brussels residents who want to reduce the use of their cars the flexibility that other alternatives do not offer. In this way, the company contributes directly to improving the quality of life in the capital, by reducing the number of car journeys and the negative impact they have on the environment, public health, urban planning and road safety. The company plans to reach 1M trips by the summer of 2021.
Beyond its impact on mobility, Billy offers a training and professional reintegration program, through the profession of bicycle mechanic. It enables motivated people, that lack a degree or training, to develop skills that are in high demand on the job market. Billy aims to create 20 bicycle mechanic jobs by the summer of 2021.
In this time of health crisis, Billy plays a crucial role in providing individual and therefore more hygienic means of transportation for people who need to get around to keep the city running. In recent weeks, Billy has offered thousands of free rides to these heroes of Brussels.