On the first day of October next month, two of the Taipei YouBike public bike rental system’s new policies will go into effect, including a new rule that prevents people from renting another bike at the same station if they return the first bike within 15 minutes of renting it. The other new policy includes the implementation of a progressive rating system, which stipulates that the first 30 minutes will still be free of charge, but that the regular price of NT$10 per 30 minutes for the three and a half hours after that, increases to NT$20 per 30 minutes between the fourth and eighth hours of renting the bike, and NT$40 for every 30 minutes after the eighth hour.
The YouBike system is quite popular, but there are often complaints being made about there not being enough bicycles available. One of the main reasons for this problem is that the first 30 minutes are free, meaning that a person can get another free rental as long as they return the previous bike within 30 minutes of renting it. With so many people taking advantage of the free ride, many potential customers are left waiting for bikes, so Taipei City’s Department of Transportation says that it has decided not to allow customers to rent another bike at the same station if they return it within 15 minutes of renting it.
After taking into consideration that people might want to switch out a bike because it has a problem, the department says the restriction will not be applied to customers who swap bikes at the same station within five minutes of renting it.
According to statistics from the department, only 0.5 percent of customers are using the public bikes more than four hours at a time, adding that only 5,600 of the 1.12 million customers in the month of August used the bikes for more than four hours.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)