YouBike pedals past 10 millionth Taipei rental

The scheme is so popular that bikes at the most popular locations, such as at Taipei City Hall MRT station (above), are often in short supply.

The Taipei City Government yesterday celebrated the 10 millionth rental in its YouBike public bike rental system, and announced that YouBike has earned a 93-per cent approval rating among Taipei citizens.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) congratulated the 10 millionth user, surnamed Chen, who rented a YouBike on Nov. 8 around 4 p.m. The mayor also invited Chen to be a spokesperson for YouBike's courtesy campaign, which promotes the rights of pedestrians.

Taipei City said the courtesy campaign aims to establish cyclists' awareness of pedestrians' rights by encouraging compliance with rules that prohibit riding in arcades, and calling for cyclists to walk their bikes when passing through crowds.

Chen said she registered in the system about a year ago, and she rents a YouBike at least three times a week to commute between her residence and workplace. "Apart from that, our family also rents the bicycles to travel in the city on weekends," she added.

"If I have to offer a suggestion to Taipei City, I wish they would build more bike paths, and flatten some of the uneven path surfaces," Chen said.

Hau said that judging from the popularity of the city's bike sharing system, he is optimistic that by the same time next year, YouBike will have surpassed 20 million rentals.

YouBike Overcomes Challenges

Wang Shang-wei (王聲威), commissioner of the Taipei City Department of Transportation, said it was not easy for YouBike to come this far, noting that over 1 million people have registered for the system, while daily rentals exceeded 60,000 last week.

Hau said he still remembers that when the city launched the bicycle rental system four years ago and established 11 rental stations across the city, "We encountered countless challenges and criticisms, and many said that we could not make it, but we did it."

"With the growing popularity of the bike rental service, I believe it has overcome the worst (facing it)," the mayor said.

Hau went on to say that YouBike currently has 129 rental stations, and Taipei is aiming to expand its service network to encompass a total of 162 rentals stations. He further noted that the average daily turnover rate per YouBike is 11 to 12 rides, which is a record-high compared to other programs in countries across the world.

Hau continued to single out Taipei's selection to host "Velo-city Global 2016," a major international cycling convention, as an important recognition of YouBike's success.

People have witnessed what YouBike has achieved over the past few years, Hau said, noting that New Taipei, Taichung, Changhua, and even Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul have come to Taipei and sought consultation on the city's bike rental operation.