A couple of weeks ago, I posted a summary on the bike sharing programs in Brussels, Belgium – a very well structured and what appeared as well used system of bikes, rent stations and of course people ready to leverage the service regularly.
So, on a recent trip to Beijing, I decided to take a look at the options for bike sharing in this city. This is actually an important topic. Why? for many reasons – As Beijing has grown, we have seen the following issues:
- Our ability to catch a taxi cab has become increasingly small — very frustrating experience indeed. Cabs appear to be fewer and fewer – in reality the population seeking their service has grown drastically
- Congestion on the city roads has become hurrendous — the various loop roads in Beijing resemble more and more a parking lot each morning and evening
- Because of the previous two bullets, might as well forget motor vehicles as a reliable transport for everyday small tasks!
So then we have to rely on the subway and…..bikes! Hence a bike sharing program is very much a necessity…
How does it work in Beijing? Well, here is the summary:
- You need to have a valid "Beijing Public Transport IC card"
- The card looks like
- You have to have enough funds in the card to be able to support a deposit of RMB400 plus fees for the ride each time;
- You have to your card registered for the program at one of these subway stations: TianTan DongMen, DongZhiMen, ChaoyangMen
- The fees for renting a bike are: first hour is free; RMB1/hr thereafter with a max of RMB10/day
There are apparently 14000 bikes for rent in the city. They are located at many stations throughout the city
I hope this program continues to operate in the future and grows. It is certaintly (I think ) badly needed in cities like Beijing. One observation (and some photos to attest to it) though — it was very disappointing to see non-program bikes being parked in the area of the bike sharing.