The annual Taipei Car Free Day has increased the use of public transportation, the Taipei City Government said yesterday as it promoted the activity, which is entering its 11th year.
This year, Car Free Day — held every Sept. 22 — will focus on activities that encourage the public to implement the concept of “car-free” in their daily lives. Shifu Road and the plaza in front of Taipei City Hall will be closed to traffic that day to accommodate street fairs and encourage the use of bicycles and public transportation.
Taipei City’s Department of Transportation Commissioner Jason Lin (林志盈) said the city had been encouraging people to use public transportation at least once a week and this has lifted public ridership.
“The ridership for the MRT and buses in Taipei has increased over the years, and we believe that more and more residents are incorporating the spirit of a ‘car-free day’ into their daily lives,” he said.
As part of the department’s efforts to promote public transportation, it is planning to add 30 more rental stops and offer 960 more bicycles for its public bicycle system, known as U-Bike, by the end of next month.
Sheng Hui-hong (沈慧虹), a division chief at the department, said the 30 additional rental stops will be set up near stations along the MRT’s Blue line, Wenhu line and Luzhou line, as well as in the Nangang and Gongguan areas, such as Daan Park, Xintian Temple and Nangang Exhibition Hall.
Add these to the existing 11 rental stops and 500 rental bicycles, there will be 41 rental stops and 1,460 bicycles available for the public next month, she said.
According to the department, an average of 23 people a day use the system. To raise the usage rate, U-Bike will lower its fees starting on Aug. 1, including offering free rentals for the first 30 minutes of every lease.