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Gearing up: how Taipei's bike-sharing program is transforming citizens' commute

March 16, 2016

Gearing up: how Taipei's bike-sharing program is transforming citizens' commute

Ralph Jennings
Wednesday 16 March 2016 21.30 GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taipei’s rental bikes are hard to miss. The Taiwanese capital has 7,264 of them, and their distinctive orange frames, yellow fenders and smiley face logo are nearly as common in some parts of town as the city’s ubiquitous motor scooters. Last year, the city’s bike rental program logged more than 20m trips, a stunning figure that becomes slightly less surprising when one considers that the bikes rent for as little as $0.15 per half hour from 222 self-service, card-activated storage lots.

It’s hard to believe that, just four years ago, the program was on the edge of collapse, done in by a lack of rental docks and a scarcity of viable bike lanes in the city’s choked streets. After a brief burst of enthusiasm, cycling became an unpopular method of transportation as citizens tried to save gas money during the global financial crisis.

The city worked with Giant Manufacturing, the company that produces the bikes, to turn its bike rental program around. Giant upgraded its fleet to include mini locks, strong braking systems and bikes that change gears – a move that cut down on the number of repair jobs and broken bikes.

Read more at The Guardian.

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