YouBike is to launch a three-month test run for its upgraded system in Taipei’s Gongguan (公館) today, before the city considers replacing all YouBike bicycles with the new models, the Taipei Department of Transportation said yesterday.
A total of 1,808 new YouBike stands are to be installed at 102 stations in the area during the trial run to accommodate 500 new bikes as part of the department’s “YouBike 2.0” project, it said, adding that the new service would start operations at 10am.
Scooter or bike riders should not park their vehicles near the new stations to avoid receiving a ticket, the department said.
The new service would feature smart control panels on the bikes instead of on the stands, meaning that users can proceed with the rental process directly by swiping an EasyCard or scanning a QR code with their smartphones, it said.
The relocation of the control panels means that the stands would take up less space, which is necessary to build a more comprehensive network, it added.
The new system would also be more eco-friendly, as the service interface would use built-in solar energy panels on the bicycles instead of being powered by underground wires through the stands, the department said.
The new bikes, which would be colored white and yellow, would also carry a GPS chip and use an automatic locking system instead of traditional locks, it said.
The new system would not be compatible with the current one, transport officials said, acknowledging that this might cause confusion and inconvenience for some users.
The Taipei City Government is to install the new stands alongside existing ones to give users two options, they said.
Gongguan area, near National Taiwan University, was chosen for the trial run because it is the most popular YouBike hotspot in the nation, the department said.
The city would study user behavior during the test run when drafting its plan to expand the system citywide, it said.
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