Health and Fitness

You Can Use These Bikes for Free Around Ortigas

Pasig City's bike sharing facility has eight stations located across Ortigas Center.
IMAGE Elyssa Christine Lopez
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There have been proposals to solve the crippling traffic in Metro Manila: from building a subway system to banning “driver-only” cars along EDSA. Some think turning motorcycles into a legal mode of public transportation can help alleviate it, while others have long accepted that it’s a hopeless case. But there is one possible solution that seems to never get the traction it needs: commuter cycling.

In 2013, the Metro Manila Development Authority made a few bikes available for rent, for free, along EDSA in the hopes that it will encourage more commuters to try biking along the main thoroughfare and eventually lessen car traffic. There were bike lanes introduced, but they were short in distance and narrow in width. The bikes were sparse and were simply hung on walls. Eventually, the bikes disappeared and the lanes were forgotten.

But Pasig City, home to Ortigas Business District—arguably, the epicenter of Metro Manila—is not losing hope on this cause. Early this month, the local city government soft-launched its bike-sharing facility: a network of eight “bike stations” spread across Ortigas Center.

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The stations are usually located in front of buildings that serve as “hosts.” Based on the initial line-up of stations, each biker can go from Robinsons Galleria along Ortigas Avenue to as far as City State Center Condominium in Shaw Blvd., which is right beside Ynares Center. That is a 2.7-kilometer stretch based on Esquire Philippine’s estimate.

The Pasig Bike Station in front of the University of Asia and Pacific along Escriva Drive is only one of the eight across the Ortigas CBD. 


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As of press time, 100 bikes are available for rent. Each station is equipped with 10 bikes parked in security-protected docks, that anyone with an access card can rent for free. According to Brgy. San Antonio Captain Thomas Raymond Lising, users may ride the bike for an hour before it is expected to be parked to the next station to ensure the facility is fully maximized by all access card holders. The scheme is also a way to protect the bikes and deter anyone from stealing them.

According to Lising, the first 100 access cards are going to be deployed by the first week of April. Sign-ups have been ongoing since last year, but the launch of the bike sharing facility had been delayed by the local city government for more careful planning of its deployment and operations. 

In the next deployment of access cards, however, anyone, even non-Pasig residents, may sign up for one and may utilize the bikes for free.

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“The City of Pasig has a population of around 700,000 people. But due to the number of people that come in during the day, students and employees that attend schools and offices in Ortigas, that (number) rises to 900,000. It’s only logical to make the facility available to even non-residents. That’s the market,” he said.

Most of Ortigas Center is under Brgy. San Antonio. Some Pasig City Transport officials also occupy an office in the barangay as they regularly make rounds to check that the bike stations have enough parking spaces for bikers.

The Pasig Bike Station in front of the University of Asia and Pacific along Escriva Drive is only one of the eight across the Ortigas CBD. 

IMAGE: Elyssa Christine Lopez
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But even long before the bike stations were launched, Pasig City was already one of the most-bike friendly cities in Metro Manila. Almost all streets of Ortigas Center have dedicated bike lanes, some even protected by plastic cones. According to a post by the Transport department of the city’s local government, bike lanes in the city are already at 40 kilometers, and it now plans to extend them to 150.

To be sure, several bike-sharing initiatives have been introduced before in different parts of Metro Manila. But nothing as extensive and as budget-heavy has been deployed as the one in Ortigas. If Pasig City’s bike-sharing system in Ortigas becomes a success, it may be what the country needs to finally pursue and develop a transformative biking culture.

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Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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