Lisbon’s Bike Hire System – How it Works

Lisbon’s public bicycle sharing system is a fun way to travel around and explore the city. Use it to get to local attractions, or to ride along the riverfront.

Lisbon currently has 60 kilometres / 41 miles of cycle routes and shared paths, and is expected to increase the network up to 150 kilometres / 93 miles. The e-bikes can help with hills.

The bike sharing system was unleashed in the modern part of the city – the riverside Parque das Nações -, and has gradually been covering other parts of Lisbon. Hire bikes are now appearing in neighbourhoods such as the Baixa and Lisbon Plateau, as well as the riverfront.

The Gira bikes are available to hire at docking station terminals using the Gira app. There are conventional bikes as well as e-bikes to cope with LIsbon’s seven hills.

Getting started is very easy. Use your smartphone to grab a bike, ride it wherever you want, and then return it to any docking station. Here’s a step by step guide:

Step 1 – Download the Gira app

Download the Gira app from the App Store or Google Play for iOs and Android.

Step 2 – Choose a pass

Use the app to register and subscribe a pass. Pay with credit card (Visa/Mastercard), PayPal, or debit card (annual and monthly passes only). The subscription structure is as follows:

  • Day pass for 24 hours riding. It costs €10 and 45-minute rides are included.
  • Monthly pass for a regular use. It costs €15 and you pay €0.10 (conventional bikes) or €0.20 (e-bikes) for a 45-minute ride.
  • Annual pass for Lisbon locals. It costs €25 and you pay €0.10 (conventional bikes) or €0.20 (e-bikes) for a 45-minute ride.

Note: Until 31 December 2018, the day pass subscription costs only €2 as part of a promotion, and the first 45 minutes are free for the monthly and annual passes.

Day pass

The day pass is perfect for visitors and tourists. The pass costs €10 for a 24-hour period, and 45-minute journeys on both conventional and electric bikes are included in the price of the pass. This means that you can take as many 45-minute rides as you want while your pass is active. However, if you keep a bike out more than 45 minutes, you’ll be charged €2 for each additional 45 minutes. Between two consecutive rides, you have to wait 15 minutes before you can release a new bike.

Here are two examples taken from the Gira website:

2 journeys of 44 minutes each: €0+€0=€0
1 journey of 150 minutes: €0+€2+€2+€2 = €6

The day pass requires a refundable security deposit of €300, which is charged on your credit card or PayPal account. This amount will be released within a maximum of 5 days after the subscription expires.

Monthly/Annual pass

The monthly and annual passes are for residents in Portugal. With these passes, you’ll be charged €0.10/€0.20 for 45-minute journeys. Longer rides cost an additional €1 between 45 and 90 minutes. After that, each additional 45 minutes will cost you €2. Between two consecutive rides, you have to wait 15 minutes before you can release a new bike.

Regular users can add credit to their Gira account by using an ATM reference, a PayPal account, or a credit card (Visa/Mastercard).

Step 3 – Find a docking station

Use the interactive map on the Gira App to find a nearby docking station and to get live docking station information. You can learn about the total number of the available bikes at each docking station, as well as details about each individual bike, namely its type (conventional or electric), the battery level of e-bikes, and the dock number.

Step 4 – Pick a bike

Pick your bike from the conventional and electric bikes available on the Gira app.

Step 5 – Pull the bike out

Picking a bike on the Gira App releases the bike from the docking station. You have 15 seconds to pull the bike out before it is blocked.

Step 6 – Ride

Ride throughout Lisbon. See this easy to follow map of docking stations and cycle routes. Usage fees apply as described above.

Step 7 – Return

At any a Gira docking station, push the bike firmly into any empty docking point and confirm on the Gira app that you’re done (otherwise Gira will continue to charge you for your journey).

Before heading to any docking station, always remember to check on the app if there are free docking points.