drapeau "Das Mobile" - Germany

Freiburg: a strange ring-shaped building houses 1001 bikes spaces on the second floor and bike-related services on the third. While the parking business is far from profitable, the services are. The bike café is breaking even, but it is especially the bike vendor, the travel agency run by the DB (the national rail operator) and the mobility centre (taxis, car rental, car pooling, etc.) that are profitable.

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Objectives :
The objective of the mutualisation of services is to make up for the financial losses related to the bike parking facility. The bike point “Mobile” is managed by a group independent of the city.


"Das Mobile" 

Description of the offer :

Freiburg’s « Mobile » Bike point is easily visible from the streetcar bridge (on which several streetcar lines run), which crosses all the tracks of the railroad station (direct access to each platform). The easiest access for cyclists is on the other side, by an entrance opening directly onto the second floor, while the exit is onto the bridge, on the third floor. The third-floor services are thus readily visible by travellers (passers-by or streetcar passengers), who can easily access them if they wish to use them.

The services are as follows: Bike bistro-café, mobility centre – DB travel agency (train tickets, trips), VCD organisation, taxis, rental cars, car pooling), bicycle shop (sale and repairs), regional tourism with the Freiburg Aktiv bicycle tour agency and the « Futour » agency (seminars, tours connected with solar energy in the area), ADFC office. The parking facility also numbers 80 rental bikes.

Organisation :




ADFC cyclists’ association -  Verkehrsclub Deutschland VCD City of Freiburg - Rolf - Holtz  architects’ firm 

FaMoZ, a group of associations and businesses (BUND+VCD+FAG)

A task force including the regional branches of the ADFC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad Club, the German cyclist’s association) and the VCD (Verkehrsclub Deutschland, the association for the promotion of “clean” traffic) was set up in 1988. In 1993 came the idea of building a mobility centre in addition to the parking facility so as better to connect all forms of travel. The task force was expanded to include another environmental association (BUND), FAG (Freiburg Auto Gemeinschaft, the car pooling partner) and Pro Bahn (the rail partner). Once the work was completed, the Rolf+Holtz architects’ firm designed the architecture under the direction of the city (which funded the project). « Das Mobile » was opened in 1999. Six operators took over the third-floor premises and the parking facility office.

Initially the management was ensured by the FaMoz (Fahrradstation und MobilitätsZentrale) group, made up of VCD, BUND and FAG. At present, FAG alone remains in the management group;  the ADFC left it in 2007, followed by VCD and by BUND.

Funding  :

The city paid the full cost of the building (3.8 million DM in 1999, i.e. 1.8 million euros), but charges the FaMoZ group a yearly rent and does not pay any subsidy at all. The surface area belongs to the DB (railroad company), which refused to do away with the car parking spaces (100 spaces). The cost per bike space was in fact increased as a result, since the building is constructed on piles.

As the financial situation of the parking facility had become difficult, the price of parking was increased from 0.5 to 1€ a day early in 2008. (other prices: 10€ per month, 80€ per year. There are two hundred passholders, half of whom leave their bike at night.)

Communication :

The building is very visible, with a large banner on the traffic side.  However, the city does not advertise. The city website has only a picture and an accompanying text presenting the  architectural achievement. 

Résults :

- Strengths : The bike-related services are quite profitable overall, particularly the bicycle shop (repair, rental and sale), the car pool and the DB travel agency. All together they employ a dozen people.

- Weaknesses : The cost of the building is relatively high (obligation of leaving the ground floor available for cars) and the city, wishing to limit its bike-related expenditure (in Freiburg, bicycles account for 1% of the city’s overall traffic costs, whereas the modal share of bicycles is 25 to 30% in the city centre), charges a high rent for the use of the building, which is a source of financial difficulty for the managing group (debts).

The bike parking facility has an occupancy rate of only 40%, due to the fact that it is relatively far from the main platform (track 1, which is on the other side of the bridge). Moreover, the managing group, presently called « mobile ggmbh », now has only une member (FAG = Car-Sharing Südbaden - Freiburg e. V.), which makes its operation more difficult.

Downloadthis document in pdf format

Contacts : Klaus Burger, Regional Director of ADFC, freiburg@adfc-bw.de - Matthias Martin Lübke, Director of mobile ggmbh LLC - «Das Mobile » website: http://www.mobile-freiburg.de.

Mutualisation of services