Kaohsiung City yesterday inaugurated the nation’s first unmanned metropolitan public bicycle rental network.
During an inspection of the system in front of the City Hall and the Cultural Center, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said about 50 bike rental sites would be established along the city’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) routes by the end of May.
The bike rental system is expected to provide a total of 4,500 bicycles, she said.
“[The city’s bike rental network] is different from those in other cities and counties, which are usually located in limited and specific areas,” Chen said. “The city’s rental network extends along the MRT lines so that people can transfer from the MRT to a bike and back to the MRT again. Those who rent bicycles at the network do not need to return the bicycles to the same locations where they rent the bikes.”
The mayor said the length of the city’s bike paths was expected to reach 180km before the opening of the World Games in July, adding that the city government would also seek to expand the network along the paths.
She said the city government would also pursue integration of credit and membership cards for the rental network so that tourists visiting the city could conveniently rent the bikes.
Those who rent bikes after riding the MRT will recieve a discount by paying with the cards, Chen said.
The city has been planning the network since June. Chen said last year that the city government would spend NT$60 million (US$1.7 million) installing the network.
Chen also promised in June to consider building parking lots exclusively for bicycles.