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Taipei struggles with bike demand after free ride policy


Release time:2024/03/25 18:07
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — The policy of offering the first 30 minutes of YouBike rides for free was reintroduced in Taipei in late February, drawing significant attention for its potential to streamline city transportation. Despite the convenience, concerns have been raised about potential difficulties in renting bikes due to increased demand.

 
According to Chen Yu-cheng, a Taipei City Councilor from the Taipei People’s Party, the city is still boosting its dispatching manpower and resources. He warns that the rushed introduction of the free 30-minute offer might worsen issues related to bike availability and the shortage of parking poles.

During the tenure of former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, the transition from YouBike 1.0 to 2.0 faced several challenges, including complaints about insufficient bike turnover, poor availability, and high malfunction rates.

Despite an annual ridership of 40 million, there are concerns that the current 1,374 stations and 18,000 bikes may not suffice. In response, the Taipei City Government is taking steps to increase both the number of bikes and parking poles.

 
"From around 13,000 bikes at the beginning of 2023 to about 18,000 this year, we've already increased by 5,000 to 6,000. We plan to continue this expansion," said Chu Chen-zuo, a section chief at the Department of Transportation.

Experts highlight the need for better bike dispatching and coordination across regions to alleviate shortages. Professor Luo Shiaw-shyan of Tamkang University calls for operators to improve their dispatching capabilities.

In a bid to ensure an adequate supply of bikes, especially during holidays at tourist spots, Taipei is planning to hire 34 more YouBike dispatchers, increasing the total to 266. While the free 30-minute YouBike rides policy aims to improve convenience, it's clear that effective measures are essential to enhance its impact on public transport.

Taiwan Affairs

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#Taipei#YouBike#free rides#bike sharing#public transport#transportation policy#bike availability#parking poles#bike expansion#bike dispatching
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