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Kyoto Station's Automatic Underground Bicycle Parking Area

This video, titled "Automatic Underground Bicycle Parking Lot Opened in Front of Kyoto Station" (京都駅前に機械式地下駐輪場がオープン) was released by SankeiNews.
The first automated underground bicycle parking lot in Kyoto made big news when it was opened on February 11th, 2015 at the East and West Hachijou Entrance to Kyoto station.

This is a video showing footage of the automated storage and retrieval of a bicycle from inside the underground parking lot that was made available to the press upon opening.
It's a sight that one would normally never be able to see and well worth the watch!

More About Kyoto Station's Automatic Underground Bicycle Parking Lot

The underground parking lot has a 12 meter deep cylindrical design and the footage of the automated storage of the bikes underground is truly amazing!
You can take a look at this from 0:06 in the video.

One of these underground parking lots (called Eco-cycles) can store approximately 200 bicycles. The way it works is that you place your bike into an elevator-type booth, simply push a button and the bicycle will automatically be stored away in the underground parking lot.
You can see this in the opening scenes of the video.

When you would like to retrieve your bicycle, all you have to do is swipe your designated IC card and your bike should arrive through the elevator-style booth in approximately 13 seconds.
This can be seen at 0:17 in the video.
As you can see in the video, the front wheel of the bicycle is held by a machine, which allows the machine to move the bicycle to the correct location.
It's truly amazing to watch the machine at work!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automated Underground Parking Lots

It can no doubt be said that the new underground bicycle parking lot in Kyoto is very convenient, but it's not without its disadvantages. Let's talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this system.
First of all, one of the advantages of the underground parking lot is that, being indoors, there is less risk of one's bicycle being damaged by rain or possibly being stolen compared to if it were parked outdoors.
Another advantage is that since the bicycles are neatly stored away, the iconic scenery of the streets of Kyoto can be easily maintained.

However, one of the disadvantages of such a system is the development cost.
The cost to build one of these parking lots is approximately 160,000,000 yen (roughly 1.5 million US dollars) with the overall construction cost coming to approximately 426,600,000 yen (roughly 4 million US dollars), far higher than a regular outdoor bicycle parking lot.
It is hardly a sum than can be covered by usage charge alone.
For this reason, it's unlikely that this kind of underground parking area will be adopted by many local governments without good reason for it.
Furthermore, the lack of information on running performance, maintenance costs and the fact that the parking lot is not equipped to handle non-standard bicycles are all problems that still need to be dealt with.

Kyoto Station Automated Underground Bicycle Parking Lot Usage Fee

Image of bicycle parking area
Photo:Bicycle parking area

For those who wish to use the new underground parking lot, you'll need to enter a fixed-term contract, which currently costs 2700 yen per month (as of Jan 2020).
It is also possible to pay for parking per day at a cost of 150 yen; however, the parking lot can often be full so it's best to search for alternative parking options beforehand.

Those wishing to enter a fixed term contract need to ensure that their bicycle meets the required standards for the automatic parking lot.
You must know your bicycle's length, width, height and position of the front and/or rear basket, tire size, bike weight, and position of gears and possibly several other measurements.
Extra precautions must be taken for bikes which have unique or special designs, such as road bikes, mountain bikes, and more.

Summary of Kyoto's Automated Underground Parking Lot

What 'd you think of Kyoto's new underground bicycle parking lot? Kyoto station's south entrance has long been troubled with the unauthorized parking of bicycles.
It is hoped that the completion of this new underground parking lot will bring and end to this problem and help contribute towards maintaining the beautiful scenery of Kyoto.

Videos of bicycles being sucked up by the automated machinery of Kyoto's underground parking lot have attracted a lot of attention on social media, so much so that many tourists are visiting Kyoto for the sole purpose of seeing this unusual parking lot!
The development of this automated parking lot in the futuristic city of Kyoto is sure to have a profound impact on the rest of the world.

【Official Website】Automatic Underground Bicycle Parking Lot introduction|KYOTO PARKING NAVI

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
山本 孝(Takashi Yamamoto)
I've been a writer for seven years. I write articles on travel, food, and history.
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