Sat, Dec 17, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung offers CityBike discounts as ridership rises

By Chen Wen-chan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Passengers transferring between the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT) System and the CityBike bicycle-sharing service will receive discounts, the Kaohsiung City Government announced in response to increasing CityBike ridership in the city.

Passengers renting a CityBike within half an hour of exiting the KMRT will not pay rental fees for the first hour, the city said, adding that they will be charged NT$10 for using the service for another half hour, after which the regular fee of NT$20 per half hour would apply.

CityBike users transferring to the KMRT will continue receiving the NT$4 discount currently in place, it said.

The city said the changes would make CityBike use more affordable than Taipei’s and New Taipei City’s YouBike network.

The CityBike service, which began in March 2009, is the oldest of its kind in the nation. The network was upgraded for the second time in October last year with a new bicycle nicknamed the “Little Blue Wave.”

CityBike ridership recently reached more than 300,000 per month, more than double the 140,000 riders in the first year of the service, according to the Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau, which operates the service.

Ridership this month rose 35 percent from a year earlier, it said.

The bureau said that ridership increased largely due to the placement of CityBike stations near busy KMRT stations like Kaohsiung Arena, Cultural Center and Central Park stations.

Each bicycle at these stations is rented between 7,000 and 10,000 times per month, the bureau said, adding that tourism has also spurred ridership.

It said the system is tied to the iPass payment card popular in the city, allowing riders to rent bicycles in less than 10 seconds from any of the 185 stations in Kaohsiung.

The bureau said it aims to have 300 CityBike stations in place by the first half of next year, facilitating a total of 4,800 bicycles.

Fees for the CityBike system will be adjusted next year to make the first 30 minutes free and charge NT$5 for the second 30 minutes, the bureau said.

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