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Taipei's YouBike to be free for first 30 minutes from Wednesday

02/27/2024 04:22 PM
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A commuter rides his YouBike by a parking station in Taipei on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2024
A commuter rides his YouBike by a parking station in Taipei on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) People using Taipei's YouBike rental service will not be charged for the first 30 minutes of their ride from Wednesday, Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) announced on Tuesday.

At a press conference, Chiang said that the decision to make the first half an hour of each ride free had been made to help achieve the Taipei government's goals of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and increasing the proportion of journeys taken with green transportation to 70 percent.

Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an poses on a YouBike on Tuesday to announce his administration's policy to provide the first 30 minutes of the bike-sharing service in the capital city free. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2024
Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an poses on a YouBike on Tuesday to announce his administration's policy to provide the first 30 minutes of the bike-sharing service in the capital city free. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2024

According to the city's Department of Transportation, the number of YouBike stations will expand from the current 1,338 to 2,000 by 2026, while the number of bikes will increase from 16,562 to 27,500.

However, the time a user must wait between returning a YouBike and taking another will be increased from five to 10 minutes, to prevent people from using the bikes for too long.

Considering the first 30 minutes will be free, the government will no longer offer discounts to users when they transfer to buses or the MRT, as it did before.

The department said around 90 percent of YouBike trips are no longer than 30 minutes. Additionally, 52 percent of journeys do not involve transferring to other modes of transportation, indicating that users in Taipei primarily use YouBikes for short trips.

Aside from the initial free 30 minutes -- which originally cost NT$10 (US$0.32) -- subsequent costs will remain the same at NT$10 for every 30 minutes up to the four-hour mark, NT$20 for every 30 minutes between the fourth and eighth hour, and NT$40 per half hour after the eighth hour of usage.

A biker ride by one of Taipei's largest YouBike stations on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2024
A biker ride by one of Taipei's largest YouBike stations on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 27, 2024

It is estimated there will be a 15 percent increase in rentals every year, and that 27 million people will benefit from the discounts, according to the department.

Meanwhile, responding to concerns that users will be unable to find bikes due to the free 30-minute rides, the department said 1,780 bikes were added to the network in May last year, along with 1,500 more in December, and that big data analysis was also being used to optimize the YouBike system.

It added that 2,000 extra bikes will be installed by the end of this month, and that there are plans to increase the total number of bikes in the network this year by around 6,000, which will help address shortage issues or problems of insufficient docking spots.

(By Chen Yi-hsuan and Evelyn Yang)

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