Call a Bike: Bicycle rental service from the Deutsche Bahn (German railways)

Deutsche Bahn AG

Move flexibly and conveniently through the city – while still protecting the environment? In many large cities this is not a problem: the high-quality bikes of „Call a Bike” are available around the clock at fixed pick-up points. After a one time registration customers can rent a bike anytime – nationwide.

The bike is then returned at either a pick-up point or at any desired intersection. In the past the latter has sometimes proven problematic: bikes were parked on private property or had vanished without a trace.

Deutsche Bahn - Call a Bike App

Implementation of a flexible usage concept by INSIDE M2M

In order to be able to know the location of the rental bicycles at any time, DB Kommunikationstechnik, the German-wide specialist of the Deutschen Bahn AG for IT systems, contracted INSIDE M2M GmbH to develop a complete system for tracking them using GPS.

For the „Call a Bike“ wireless solution, DB Kommunikationstechnik acted on behalf of the DB Rent GmbH and was responsible for the project, choice of the project partners and the overall integration within the DB AG. The specification of the hardware to be used and the needed software were carried out together with INSIDE M2M.

Overview of the solution

The software interrogates position data of the bicycle through the built in GPS chip set, gets the current rental return data from the bicycle control unit and transmits this information to the M2MGate server through GPRS. The server stores the data in a database which can be accessed through the web front end of the “Call a Bike” booking and management system. All data is visualised through a web portal based on M2MGate from INSIDE M2M. “Call a Bike” system administrators can access the password-protected admin section of the portal without needing additional software, either from within the local network or worldwide through the Internet.

Benefits for the Call a Bike customer

The new system allows customers to reserve and rent the closest bicycle at any time. To give even more flexibility to the customers, a mobile app is available in addition to the “Call a Bike” website. This makes it more convenient for customers to access the „Call a Bike“ service when they are travelling.

How Call a Bike works in quick succession