It’s unusual: paying a fixed monthly fee to use a bicycle without actually buying it. But the founders of Swapfiets think that, thanks to Netflix, people are ready to join a bicycle subscription scheme: you pay for being mobile. From as little as 12 euros a month, you can even call a mechanic when the bike tyres need pumping. You can choose from a variety of frame colours, but the bikes always come with a blue front tyre. If you pay extra, you can even swap your frame for a different colour – and ask the swap crew to do it. Swapfiets promises to repair or exchange every bike within twelve hours. It’s an innovative idea that perfectly responds to the growing demand for service concepts.
At first, the jury thought it was a subscription-based product designed for convenience-loving millennials, but then became fascinated by the intriguing transition from ‘ownership’ to ‘membership’ as a solution to the mobility problem in large cities. According to the jury, Swapfiets is the first bike subscription to provide this service. In fact, it’s an updated version of the White Bicycle Plan devised in the 1960s by Provo activists, but the simple yet innovative concept works. The eye-catching Swapfiets seems to be taking over the urban environment; you see blue tyres everywhere. Aside from the concept, the jury is impressed by how quickly the concept is being rolled out and (seems to be) catching on.