Bicycle hubs are being rolled out at 7-Eleven Japan outlets in a partnership with the Hello Cycling bike-sharing business.
The convenience store parent Seven & I Holdings has partnered with Hello Cycling, launched last year by tech company SoftBank Group and its subsidiary OpenStreet. Customers can rent and return bikes at the special 7-Eleven parking lots.
So far the service is available at nine 7-Eleven locations in Saitama, north of Tokyo, with plans to have 5000 bicycles available at 1000 stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area and other cities by the end next year. There are about 20,000 7-Eleven stores throughout Japan.
Hello Cycling members can search for bike-share stations and reserve bicycles via smartphone. If they register a transportation smart card, they can pick up bikes on the spot without a reservation. Payment can be made by credit card without entering the store, and bikes can be returned at any participating location.
In February, 7-Eleven partnered with the Docomo Bike Share service, run by wireless carrier NTT Docomo, making about 150 bicycles available at 32 stores in Tokyo and elsewhere. The partnership will continue alongside the SoftBank service, which follows the Japanese debut of China’s Beijing Mobike Technology in August, with rival Ofo preparing to follow suit.
Mercari, a Tokyo-based flea-market app company, also plans to break into bike-sharing early next year.