Perth has joined the club of global cities with its bike-sharing scheme launched on Tuesday. The concept offers access to bikes at all the metropolitan sites. Known as Urbi, the bike sharing scheme’s full-scale operations will begin in August.

It has been launched by Perth’s bike management company BikeValet as part of the bike week.  Marking its debut, many MPs, mayors and councillors took a bike ride from Parliament House to the Bell Tower.

Urbi allows patrons to “hire” bikes without the hassle of having to return the vehicle to the place where they started the journey.

“Perth needs to look at solutions to its increasing parking and traffic congestion and we feel the arrival of bike-sharing is inevitable,” said Urbi’s executive biking officer Brian Grindrod, reports The West Australian.

Thanks to bike-sharing, commuters can now ride from a train station to work. Tourists can also use and access them for easy travel from the city centre to South Perth.

Bike-sharing is a highly popular concept all across the world in more than 1000 cities. Urbi officials are now talking to local councils for a two-year trial of mobile bike-sharing stations.

“Urbi aims to offer a viable transport choice with a network of shared bikes for community use — which will, in turn, realise massive environmental, health and sustainability benefits,” added Grindrod.

He said Urbi’s focus will be maximum cost-efficiency and user-friendliness with a thrust on density and connectivity at bike-share stations, which, incidentally will be located less than 400m apart.

People can access and return a bike at any of the nearby stations. There is a wider choice with options for a single 45-minute ride to daily, weekly or monthly access. The bikes can be accessed via an app or at the stations. A helmet and lock will also be provided at marginal costs.

Bike-sharing originated in Amsterdam in 1965 when a group of anarchists stationed 50 whitewashed bikes at a city centre. Their idea was to stop people from using cars and promote the use of free bikes.

Analysts have cited the manifold merits of bike-sharing that enable customers to make short trips. Less traffic congestion, more fitness, and drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels are its highlights, notes the Bike-Sharing blog.