Thu, Jan 22, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipei to provide bicycles for rent near MRT stops

GETTING IT TOGETHER Officials also said the city’s MRT Muzha line would close at 7pm during the Lunar New Year holiday for more integration testing

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

People in Kaoshiung yesterday test-ride bicycles made by Taiwanese company Merida that will soon be available for rent in the city.

PHOTO: HOU CHENG-HSU, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taipei City Government will start a trial bicycle-rental service in March, providing 500 bicycles for rent in the city’s Xinyi District (信義區), the Department of Transportation said yesterday.

The rental service will be expanded to all districts in the city if the test-run period proves successful, the department said.

A total of 500 bicycles built by Giant Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, will be available at 11 locations near the Taipei City Hall and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall MRT stations, said Chen Rong-ming (陳榮明), a division chief at the department.

Rental would be free for the first 30 minutes and NT$10 for each subsequent 15 minutes. A NT$1,500 fee will be charged for a lost bicycle.

People who fail to report the loss of a bicycle within seven days would be charged NT$3,000.

The department said that more rental locations would be set up near the Gongguan, Jiantan, Yuanshan and Danshui MRT stations.

The move follows similar efforts in Kaohsiung City, which inaugurated its own public bicycle rental network on Tuesday. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said that about 50 bike rental sites would be established along the city’s MRT routes by the end of May, providing a total of 4,500 bicycles.

In related news, the MRT Muzha Line will close at 7pm during the Lunar New Year holiday, Taipei City’s Rapid Transit Systems said yesterday.

The service will be suspended after 7pm from Saturday until Feb. 1 to allow for testing of the integration with the Neihu Line.

The department halted weekend services on the Muzha Line for seven weeks between Dec. 6 and Sunday for testing. Commissioner of the department Tom Chang (常岐德) said testing had gone smoothly, but that the department would do more testing to make sure the integration of the two lines could begin operation as scheduled in June.

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