Bike Sharing Program in Beijing

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 Beijing Transport Card
  • 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

 

Bike Share    Bike Share   Bike Share Terminal Beijing

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.  

Non-program bikes those are NOT the program bikes….People using the space for their bikes…

 

Guide to Bike-share Programs

Bike-share programs are becoming increasingly popular across the globe.  In essence we have observed somewhat of an explosive growth of those programs across North America, Europe, Asia. So I decided to provide a summary of those programs in various parts of the world and hopefully that can become a guide for those of us who travel and would need access to a bike in a city across the world.  Later on I plan to put together a database of the programs where I provide further information and a more extensive list of the programs and locations.  

Based on data I have found so far, there are over 530 bicycle sharing programs worldwide.  Here are also some stunning statistics (courtesy of US News and World Report):

Bike sharing statistics

The programs include various methods of membership including

  • daily pass — in the range of $6-$12
  • Multi-day (e.g. 3-day) — in the range of $22-$25
  • Pay by month (but a commitment to an annual total membership required)
  • Annual — which range from $65 to $100

The programs are becoming so popular that some of the companies that operate them for various cities are now offering programs for property owners as well — i.e. if you are operating an appartment complex, would you like to offer bike renting / sharing to your renters….a very neat idea.  One example of such a company is Zagster.com  

I like their strong push into getting agreements in place with even hotels — on their blog I saw an article highliting that bike sharing is "The Modern Hotel Amenity" — I can see the attraction of that.  The Hyatt in Philadelphia is apparently already offering such a program…!

Going back to the objective at hand, let's start with a brief listing of cities that offer bike-share programs:

Bay Area Bike Share Program

– covers San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, San Francisco; Pricing: Annual = $88, Annual with monthly payments = $99; 3-day = $22; 24-hours = $9, that includes 30-minutes free (if you are late returning the bike); 31-6 minutes additional is $4; 

Boston – the program name is The Hubway

The program offers over 100 stations and 1000 bikes; Available in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville; Annual membership is $85; Monthly is $24; 3-day pass is $12 and 24-hour is $6;

Denver – the program name is Denver B Cycle 

This program has even more varied pricing / membership fee structure.  Annual = $80; 30-day = $30; 7-day=$24; 24-hours = $8 plus you have a fee of $4 for additional 30-minutes;  First 30-minutes are free (i.e. you have a grace period of 30-minutes to return the bike each time)

There is a long list of cities that offer programs – to name a few – Miami Beach, Austin, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., overseas locations – e.g. Hangzhou (China), Helsinki, Amsterdam, Paris, etc.  

I will be putting together a database of those.