The Albanian capital city Tirana doesn't have much of a utility cycling culture. There has never been an official measurement of cycling's modal share in the city, but it is assumed to be insignificant. At the same time, City Hall has made efforts to accommodate cyclists on urban streets. Some of Tirana's priority bus lanes have been designated as shared bus/bike lanes, and there are other cycle routes along the Lana River, in a city park and along the city's main promenade. The city administration has an ambitious development plan for bike lanes and local NGOs are continuously lobbying for their implementation. A separate challenge in Tirana is its hard-pressed population of Roma. Although no official census data exists on their number, Roma are believed to comprise up to 5 percent of the national population, but more than that in the capital city. Roma are an economically depressed minority group, with up to 90 percent being unemployed nationwide. Their illiteracy rate is high and Roma children are often asked to work to help their families make ends meet.
An NGO called Social Alternatives Incentive Programme (PASS) has initiated a project to address both of these challenges: Tirana Community Bicycle. It's main objectives are to: • introduce the community to an inexpensive, environmentally friendly form of transport – the bicycle; • sell used bikes at low prices • donate bikes to the children of needy families and to PASS volunteers; • establish a bike sharing-scheme in the city (Eco-Volis); and • employ financially disadvantaged people to operate the bike-sharing scheme
EcoVolis - Public Bike Scheme as a Social Business: Bike sharing system in Albania
2016: Cycling Festival Tirana
The activities (Bike-to-school/work photo contest) were combined with a thematic seminar on the city mobility masterpaln, financed by the Embassy, as well. Targeted groups were local stakeholders, cycling policy-makers and youth. The event was organized by ECO-Volis Albania.