News / Asia

    Taipei Leads Asia With Millions of Bike Rentals

    A woman rides a Youbike bicycle past a renting station outside the Taipei City Hall in Taipei, Nov. 5, 2009.
    A woman rides a Youbike bicycle past a renting station outside the Taipei City Hall in Taipei, Nov. 5, 2009.
    Ralph Jennings

    Taipei has emerged as a role model for Asian cities, with a public bike rental program that has reached 20 million trips per year because of low rates and an abundance of bikes throughout the crowded Taiwanese capital.

    Envoys from Tokyo and Singapore, two other dense Asian cities, have visited Taipei to ask the city’s transportation department how the rental program, known as YouBike, has developed. Interest surged after the seven-year-old program suddenly saw rentals double from 2013 to 2014.

    Biking took off in Taipei because more than 30 percent of people already commute by metro or bus. They willingly pedal the final kilometer to work if rentals are close to their final metro or bus stop. Taipei’s city government has placed many of its 222 rental kiosks in exactly in those locations.

    Officials in the city of 2.6 million also keep rates as low as 15 U.S. cents for the first half hour, affordable to city dwellers who want the bike for a day trip on one of the mostly flat city’s riverside trails. Rentals total about 20 million per year now.

    “Taipei’s population density is high and people’s usage of buses and the metro has reached a certain level,” said Liu Chia-yu, a division chief under the city government’s transportation department. “Those people actually can use YouBike in the natural course of their movements.”

    After slow pickup in the first years, the city added stations and bikes. It also cancelled a program membership in 2012 to bring in more riders. It plans to spend about $32 million between 2015 and 2019 on more new bikes and places to rent them. Riders are allowed to rent from one place and drop off at any other.

    “When Taipei was planning its overall city transit system, bikes were a form of transport we wanted to encourage,” Liu said.

    FILE - Cyclists cruise down a bike path in Taipei, Taiwan. Taipei is now examining ways to improve traffic safety for riders.
    FILE - Cyclists cruise down a bike path in Taipei, Taiwan. Taipei is now examining ways to improve traffic safety for riders.

    Users like convenience of rentals

    Taipei now lacks the traffic jams that are notorious in Asian cities such as Bangkok, Beijing and Jakarta. Air pollution is also less severe in here.

    Taiwan-based Giant Manufacturing, a maker of bikes that are sold internationally, operates the YouBike system and supplies it with 7,200 clean, orange bikes.

    Chang Da-you, a 28-year-old office worker in Taipei, is a typical YouBike commuter. He rides five kilometers to and from work every day that it’s not raining. On weekends, he bicycles up to 20 kilometers along a river trail.

    “It’s convenient. Wherever you go, there it is,” Chang said. “If there’s a metro stop nearby there’s also YouBike, so you can take the metro to your bike and ride the bike to any other place.”

    Taipei is now examining ways to improve traffic safety for riders after the first phase of green-painted designated bike lanes on major streets attracted too many stopped cars and trucks to offer a haven from the traffic. The city will open more than 150 kilometers of new paths by 2019.

    Japan’s tourist city of Kyoto also has rentals, but mainly older bikes and from specific shops. Seoul launched a rental system like Taipei’s in October and plans to expand city-wide by 2020 with as many as 20,000 bikes.

    Taipei is credited with not giving up where other cities might.

    “In the beginning days there wasn't a lot of action. But rather than stop they sort of redoubled their efforts, which is fantastic,” said Anthony van Dyck, a Canadian in Taipei who follows YouBike as founder of an informational website for foreigners.

    “I think a lot of governments would just take a step back and they did it the exact opposite. They just tried twice as hard,” he said.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora