Mon, Dec 10, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taipei expands YouBike system

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

A woman rides a YouBike in Taipei’s Xinyi District on Friday.

Photo: Weng Yu-huang, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government is to expand the network of its public bike rental system — YouBike — to Nangang (南港) and Da-an (大安) districts and is to launch five rental stops in the districts today amid the bicycles’ continually increasing popularity.

As the city government and its partner in the bicycle program, Giant Bicycles, celebrate the scheme’s one-millionth ride, Taipei’s Department of Transportation is to establish five rental stops today at Lingyun Market, Nangang Elementary School, Nangang Software Park, and the Mass Rapid Transit System’s (MRT) Houshanpia and Gongguan stations as part of its plan to set up 162 stops across the city by next year.

Currently, there are 41 rental stops at stations along the MRT’s Bannan, Wenhu and Luzhou lines, 11 of which are in Xinyi District (信義). The most-used stops are at Taipei City Hall and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall MRT stations, as well as at National Taiwan Normal University, the department said.

The department has obtained a NT$18 million (US$619,000) anti-air pollution subsidy from the Environmental Protection Administration thanks to the system’s popularity.

Liu Chia-you (劉嘉祐), a division chief at the department, said that since an increasing amount of people are using the YouBikes, the department has decided to extend the free 30-minute rental promotion through to the end of next year for all YouBike members.

YouBike members can use the bikes for free for the first 30 minutes, while non-members pay NT$10 for every 30 minutes.

Wu Chin-wei (吳晉瑋), a specialist at YouBike, said users must show identification and EasyCards in order to apply for membership. Application forms are available on YouBike’s Web site or at its service center next to the Taipei City Hall MRT station. Non-members can use a credit card or mobile phone to rent the bicycles.

Taipei launched the bike rental program in 2009 with 11 rental sites in Xinyi District offering 500 bicycles for public use. The city government budgets NT$14 million annually to continue extending the service to cover the entire city and its ultimate goal is to have 5,300 bikes ready to rent by the end of next year.

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