Inside Bratislava’s low-cost, open source bike share solution

The Bike Kitchen started WhiteBikes in Bratislava after a failed attempt by the city to finance a similar program. At first, users shared donated bikes with the same lock code. They needed a system that would work somewhat automatically without the need for manual rentals (e.g. somebody giving out bicycles). From there, smsBikeShare was born. Users registered with a mobile phone number and could send basic SMS commands (RENT, RETURN, FREE, WHERE, etc.). The system used an inexpensive SMS gateway API and a local message-back number to receive and respond to messages.