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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

YouBike: Is Renting A Bike In Taipei Right For You?

Here is a video from We View Taiwan, explaining the Taipei YouBike system, which, if we believe the PR, has seen a miraculous rapid turn-around from embarrassing disaster, to shining star of Taipei.

In a recent article in the Taipei Times, the Taipei government unveiled plans to expand the system and award new subsidies to the contractors.

As the city government and its partner in the bicycle program, Giant Bicycles, celebrate the scheme’s one-millionth ride, Taipei’s Department of Transportation is to establish five rental stops today at Lingyun Market, Nangang Elementary School, Nangang Software Park, and the Mass Rapid Transit System’s (MRT) Houshanpia and Gongguan stations as part of its plan to set up 162 stops across the city by next year. 
Currently, there are 41 rental stops at stations along the MRT’s Bannan, Wenhu and Luzhou lines, 11 of which are in Xinyi District (信義). The most-used stops are at Taipei City Hall and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall MRT stations, as well as at National Taiwan Normal University, the department said.

There are still plenty of bugs in the system. Most notably, there are all these bikes and no practical space to safely ride.


  1. It's not just PR. I live in Taipei City, close to several recently established rental stations. In the past two, three months there has been a real surge of Taiwanese using those bikes for short trips within the city: Shopping, commuting.
    I see them all the time now. Students cycling to school in the morning, lots of middle-aged people just going from A to B.

    It all started when they finally set up stations outside of the initial Xinyi area around Taipei 101. (Before that, it just did not make any sense at all.) And I predict it will only get better the more stations are established.

    There are several effects now:
    - Some people (not yet enough to really make a difference, but still) use bikes instead of taking the scooter for short trips.
    - Other people see the bright orange bikes, start thinking.
    - All bikes have always-on front and back lights, maybe leading more people to think about the advantage of using bike lights.

    At the moment, I guess 99% make sure they stay within the 30 minute limit to ride for free. I hope that the city government will not stop that subsidy after 2013.

    Of course, there are not enough decent bike lanes to ride. But changes are coming slowly. When the construction of the new Xinyi Rd. MRT line is finished, there will be a bike lane going East-West from Taipei 101 almost all the way to CKS Hall. On top of the recently finished Orange Line on Xinsheng S. Rd., there is an excellent bike lane free of parked scooters.

    It's not all doom and gloom.

  2. I'm very lucky to live and work right next to youbike stations, and I must say this has made a difference in my life. and I'm also very lucky to be able to ride along dunhua and renai on my way home from work, although it takes about almost 50 minutes, I enjoy it every day. Now i look for a sunny day to ride every day :) It'll get better with time and I hope every one enjoys it as much as I do.