An upgraded version of the YouBike rental service is to be tested publicly in Taipei’s Gongguan (公館) shopping area for three months starting on Wednesday next week before the city considers replacing all YouBike bicycles, the Taipei Department of Transportation said on Thursday.
During the trial run, 1,800 new YouBike stands would be installed at 102 stations to accommodate 500 new bikes as part of its “YouBike 2.0” system, the department said in a news release.
It chose the area near National Taiwan University for the trial site, as it is the most popular YouBike stop nationwide, it said, adding that the city would use the results of the test to draft plans to expand the new system.
The city government wants to find ways to increase the density of bike stations in Taipei, where there were 13,072 YouBikes at about 400 stations as of the end of 2017, it said.
The payment system for the service, which was launched in 2012, is powered by cables installed under the stations, but the new system would use built-in solar panels on the bicycles, which would also have smart control panels, the department said.
The changes mean that new bike stands would occupy less space and be easier to install without the underground cables, it said, adding that the new power system would help it to expand to 2,000 stations.
However, the new system is not compatible with the existing stations, it added.
The new bikes will be painted white and yellow instead of the orange and yellow of the current bikes, the department said.
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