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Shanghai Launches Bike-Sharing Program

 

Source: AFP

News Posted: 24 Sept 2008

20080924_shanghai_rush_hourShanghai, once home to the world's biggest bicycle industry, began testing a Paris-style rental programme Monday to encourage people to get back on bikes, officials said.

The programme was launched to coincide with World Car Free Day on Monday and is part of the city's preparations to host the 2010 World Expo, whose theme is "Better City, Better Life", Shanghai Metro said.

The limited trial began at a metro station near a high-tech research centre in the Pudong area to encourage people to bike between the station and their offices, Shanghai Metro said.

If successful, the programme will be expanded to 800 stands outside metro station exits and on 2,700 other sites in business and residential areas by 2012, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.

To use the system, riders must pay a 200 yuan (29 dollars) deposit and are charged one to three yuan an hour on a progressive system designed to encourage short rents and quick turnover. The first half hour is free.

The bicycles are being supplied by the Shanghai Forever Bicycle Company, one of Shanghai's oldest bicycle brands.

Shanghai-made Forever, Phoenix and Flying Pigeon brand bicycles used to dominate the city's roads, but as China has become more affluent cars have taken over.

The city recently banned bicycles from travelling on select major roads to prevent them from slowing down motorists.

The Shanghai programme uses technology similar to Paris' successful "Velib" scheme, which was launched last year and has since been emulated by other cities.

 

Cycling commuters in Shanghai have been on a steady decline due to the boom in car ownership and the elimination of bike lanes on select major roads over the past 5 years.? However, that trend may change with a new initiative launched last month to promote bike use.

The city started testing a bike-sharing system to coincide with World Car Free Day and as part of the preparations for the the 2010 World Expo.? The limited trial began outside one metro station near a high-tech research area with the goal of encouraging people to bike between the metro station and their office.? The plan is to expand the program to 800 metro station exits and 2,700 other sites by 2012.

Riders pay a 200 RMB ($28) deposit on the bike, with the first half hour free.? For each additional hour, riders pay 3 RMB ($0.40).? Bikes are supplied by the Shanghai Forever Bicycle Company, one of the most famous and recognizable old bicycle brands in China.

Shanghai promotes "Subway + bicycle" model

The Shanghai Metro Operation Co., Ltd. (SMOC) offered a bike rental service recently, in a bid to promote "Subway + bicycle" green travel pattern.

This service is first on trial at the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park station of Shanghai subway line 2. As long as citizens present their identity cards and pay 150 yuan to the bicycle rental outlets of the subway station, they will get a membership annual card.

The short-term lease is encouraged. The longer time one uses it, the more bicycle rental fee he will pay. Renting a bicycle for one hour costs one yuan, then the fee will increase in the following hours, but it will not go beyond 3 yuan. It is free if the rental duration is less than half an hour.

Bike-sharing's Biggest Friend - Shanghai (or 16 Million Biggest Friends)

According to AFP, Shanghai began testing a bike-sharing system last Monday. "The programme was launched to coincide with World Car Free Day [..] and is part of the city's preparations to host the 2010 World Expo, whose theme is 'Better City, Better Life,' Shanghai Metro said.

"If successful, the programme will be expanded to 800 stands outside metro station exits and on 2,700 other sites in business and residential areas by 2012, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.

"To use the system, riders must pay a 200 yuan (29 dollars) deposit and are charged one to three yuan an hour on a progressive system designed to encourage short rents and quick turnover. The first half hour is free.

"The bicycles are being supplied by the Shanghai Forever Bicycle Company, one of Shanghai's oldest bicycle brands.

"Shanghai-made Forever, Phoenix and Flying Pigeon brand bicycles used to dominate the city's roads, but as China has become more affluent cars have taken over.

"The city recently banned bicycles from travelling on select major roads to prevent them from slowing down motorists."

The potential for bike-sharing in China is huge. According to People's Daily Online, China "had more than 660 cities by the end of 2002 of which 10 had populations of more than 4 million each in the urban area; 23, between 2 and 4 million; 138, between 1 and 2 million; 279, between 500,000 and 1 million; 171, between 200,000 and 500,000; and 39, less than 200,000." Cities with all these sizes, as well as those smaller than 200,000 residents, are capable of supporting bike-sharing. So with 660 cities plus likely a few more since 2002, governments have a clean slate to implement programs in a country that is known for once having one of, if not THE world's greatest cycle culture. The question which Earth's climate may very well depend on is can China bring back it's former glory as being a leader in bicycle use?

photo credit: Shanghai Daily

p.s. - It's interesting to note that Shanghai Metro is running the program. A transit agency running a bike transit program, what a concept!


Ironic really that a country that was a cycling stronghold now has to introduce measures to get people back on bikes. I suppose the thing is that people rode bikes in China out of economic necessity, and now that the standard of living is on the rise for many people, so they simply choose the car. That's the difference between China and somewhere like Denmark or Holland, where high levels of bike use are through choice and wholehearted governmental support.s

 

 

 
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