In September 2022, Barcelona’s public transit operator Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) launched a year-long pilot project to allow passengers to recharge their personal mobility vehicles with energy recovered from the metro.
Called Metrolinera, it includes nine modular cabinets for recharging purposes that were placed in the Ciutadella – Vila Olímpica metro station, by the Zoo entrance, which provides access to the platforms at this Line 4 metro station.
Said cabinets act as battery-recharging points thanks to energy recovered from the braking process of metro trains. The efficient use of energy and resources generated by the metro system itself addresses the demand for recharging personal mobility vehicles, which are used by more and more people every day.
Initially, the service was launched for students at the Pompeu Fabra University (building next to the Ciutadella – Vila Olímpica station), who will be able to try it out at no cost. The general public can also access the service, in this case with a discount of 50%.
As of October 24, the promotional service period came to an end and users are able to subscribe at the full price, except for members of the JoTMBé club — who will continue to benefit from a 50% discount.
The entire initiative started as an internal challenge launched by TMBInnova among its workers. Adopting the slogan “Station of the future”, the challenge is for different teams of workers to come up with a solution to integrate leisure, connectivity, comfort and interaction at metro stations — improving the user experience for the thousands of people who use the service every day.
Metrolinera was launched as a part of TMB's internal challenge that aims to integrate leisure, connectivity, comfort and interaction at metro stations — thus making for a better experience for TMB users, many of whom have started using e-scooters.
Initially, the service was launched at the Ciutadella - Vila Olímpica metro station, targeting students at the nearby Pompeu Fabra University.
A service like this should be feasible in pretty much any city that has a modern metro system. That "modern" part presumes that some energy is returned back to the grid every time the train brakes, and in that sense - we would expect to see similar initiatives launching in other parts of Europe and other places. If you work in such a place, this could be your chance to do something good for your city, while scoring some political points along the way.
It could be an interesting business proposition for a company offering recharging stations to connect them to an existing metro system and take advantage of the energy modern metro returns to the grid when braking. Even without that feature, installing chargers for e-scooters in metro stations makes perfect sense as that's where people congregate on their way to work, university and so on.