Taichung public bike system to go online mid-2014 台中I-Bike預計明年中上路 爭前半小時免費

Mon, Nov 11, 2013 - Page 11

The Greater Taichung Government is planning to establish a public bike system — I-Bike. The city’s Transportation Bureau Director-General Lin Liang-tai at a city council meeting last week reported that Greater Taichung is setting up 60 public bike stations at all of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stops, as well as in the city’s Central and West districts, and the business districts and scenic spots of the seventh redevelopment zone. The system is estimated to go online by the middle of next year and renting a public bike will cost NT$20 per hour. However, by obtaining a subsidy from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), it will be able to offer the first 30 minutes free of charge like Taipei.

Lin says that the bureau has obtained NT$5 million (US$169,995) this year from the EPA to conduct a research project for the I-Bike public bicycle rental program. Starting next year, $NT50 million will be allotted to the program annually for two years, making for a total of NT$100 million to build up the program. The goal is to set up 60 bike stations with 25 bikes at each station. The public bidding process will start immediately after the city council passes the budget. It is expected to take half a year to get things in order before the achievements can be seen by the middle of next year, Lin says.

The BRT and I-Bike will be integrated, with the latter serving as a transfer system for the BRT. The Central and West districts and the seventh redevelopment zone will be the main pilot areas, including stations at the Greater Taichung Government, Calligraphy Greenway, Maple Garden, department stores and business districts.

I-Bike bikes can be rented at one station and returned at another, Lin says, adding that you have to use electronic payment cards to rent the bikes, the same four cards that can be used for public buses, including Taipei’s EasyCard, the Taiwan Easy Go Card, the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp’s I-Pass Card or the Electronic Toll Collection Card. The EPA uses its Air Pollution Fund to subsidize Taipei’s U-Bike program, allowing it to provide the special first-30-minutes-free deal, which the bureau will try to obtain from the EPA so that it can do as Taipei does.

Greater Taichung Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun says that the U-Bike system is quite popular in Taipei, but that there have been issues with public bikes, pedestrians and motorcycles competing for space. The Greater Taichung Government must deal with this issue ahead of time to avoid the I-Bike system having the same problems, Tsai says.

In response to this, Lin says that the public must be educated about riding the public bikes — slowing down when approaching pedestrians, and when safety permits, people 13 years of age or older should be allowed to ride bikes in lanes for slower traffic on roads. In order to further develop public transportation, the city will evaluate whether sidewalks in areas where I-Bike bikes are expected to be used could be cleared and roadside parking spots could be abolished, Lin says.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

台中市府計劃建置公共自行車(I-Bike)系統,交通局長林良泰上週在市政會議報告,將在BRT車站及中西區、七期的商圈、景點等處,共設置六十站,預計明年中上路,費率為每小時二十元,並將向環保署爭取經費,比照台北市前半小時免費。

林良泰表示,交通局今年已向環保署爭取五百萬元(十六萬九千九百九十五美元)進行公共自行車(I-Bike)租賃計畫研究報告,明年起連續二年,每年編列五千萬元,合計一億元進行後續建置計畫,目標是設置六十站,每站二十五輛自行車,等議會通過預算,將立即上網招標,預備期半年,因此明年中可以看到成果。

I-Bike未來將與BRT結合,成為BRT的接駁系統,還將以中西區及七期為優先示範區,包括台中市政府、草悟道、秋紅谷、百貨公司、商圈等都會設站。

林良泰指出,I-Bike可以甲地借、乙地還,租借一定要使用電子票證,並與公車一樣是「四卡通」,即悠遊卡、台灣通、高捷卡、ETC都能使用。台北市的U-Bike有環保署空污基金補助,提供三十分鐘免費優惠,交通局也將向環保署爭取,比照台北市辦理。

副市長蔡炳坤表示,U-Bike在台北市很熱門,卻出現U-Bike與行人、機車爭道的問題,市府必須及早因應,避免I-Bike也發生同樣困擾。

對此,林良泰指出,將加強宣導民眾騎乘I-Bike時,碰到行人應該減速,且在安全許可下,鼓勵十三歲以上者可考慮騎在慢車道,而為了發展大眾運輸,未來I-Bike騎乘區域將評估實施人行道淨空,甚至取消路邊停車格。

(自由時報記者張菁雅)