Apple has quietly added bike-sharing data to Apple Maps, TechCrunch reports. Through a partnership with Ito World, the data includes locations for bike-sharing points from several different providers in over 175 cities across 36 countries. Users will be able to search for the nearest stations in any supported city simply by typing “bike sharing” or the name of the specific service, such as “BIXI.” While Apple Maps has had limited bike-sharing data previously, this new partnership provides a much larger data set than Apple was able to put together in-house, and allows Apple to benefit from Ito World’s data as more companies are added in the future.
At this point, Apple Maps only provides the locations where bikes can be picked up — the number of available bikes or empty slots are not shown, so users will still need to rely on either service-specific apps or more advanced apps such as Transit to actually make use of most bike-sharing providers. As the report suggests, until Apple provides more details and tighter integration, it seems that the feature will primarily only be of use for users who frequently travel and want to find bike sharing providers in new cities, although it can also be useful for simply getting walking or transit directions to a pickup location, particularly where this is not provided by a service’s own app. Some of the services currently supported include Citi Bike in New York City, Ford GoBike in San Francisco, Santander Cycles in London, BIXI in Montreal, CityCycle in Brisbane, and nextbike in Germany, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, the U.K., among many others.