Taipei’s Eco-friendly YouBike Bicycle Program; Fun and Convenient Way to Tour Taipei

On August 18, 2013 by admin

Taipei was already one of the most affordable and convenient cities in the world to travel around thanks to the Taipei Metro (MRT), an extensive bus network, as well as cheap taxi fares. But now there is another reason to love traveling in Taipei, and that is the YouBike community bicycle sharing program.  The Taipei City government teamed up with Taiwan’s world renowned bicycle manufacturer Giant in 2009 and established the country’s first bicycle sharing program with 11 stations in the downtown district.  The program has undergone rapid expansion since its incarnation, and as of last week, there were over 103 stations throughout Taipei, with plans to establish 162 stations by the end of the 2013.  With the initial 30 minutes of use free of charge, and only NT$10 for every additional 30 minute interval, the system is not only an affordable and eco-friendly way to navigate around the city, but also a fun and convenient method to visit the various tourist sites at one’s own pace.

The system requires users to first have an EasyCard (悠遊卡), Taiwan’s most used electronic money system that can also be used on the Taipei Metro, buses, taxis, in convenience stores and other locations.  Cards can be purchased at any Taipei Metro station and major convenience stores (for further information about the EasyCard, visit our EasyCard page). Next, you will need a cell phone number in Taiwan.  Affordable SIM card rates are available from the major Taiwanese carriers and can be registered in minutes at the international airports.

Once you have these two items, all you need to do is search for one of the 100 + bicycle stations around town.   Registration of your EasyCard can be done at the automated Kiosk located at every bike station.  The system interface is available in both Chinese and English.

Follow the simple directions that will require you to enter both your EasyCard number (found on the back of your card) and your telephone number.  After entering your telephone number, a SMS message will be automatically sent to your phone with a confirmation number that you will need to enter into the system to complete the registration process.

Once registered, you are ready to start riding.

Simply walk over to a parked bicycle and swipe your EasyCard on the bike dock.   A green light will illuminate, signaling the bicycle can be removed.  Be sure to perform a quick check of the bicycle before riding, as there are instances when the bike will have a flat tire or loose saddle.

Features of the bicycle include adjustable saddle and three gears.

The front of the bicycles have a basket with a lock attached.  When parking your bike to go into stores or tourist sites, pull the lock through the front tire and around to the slot around the fork crown.  The key is on the opposite side of the slot and needs to be turned before removal.

And now you are ready to enjoy the sites of Taipei at your own leisurely pace.

When returning your bike, look for an empty spot at any station and slide the bike back into its dock.  You will need to swipe your EasyCard once more and the system will calculate what you owe, and deduct this amount from your card balance.

According to statics, there are currently 6.4 million users of the YouBike program with 40,000 rentals a day, and 1 million a month.  As with other forms of transportation, the bikes’ peak usage comes during rush hour, which means there are sometimes prolonged waits for bikes to be returned.  There are also a growing number of people who borrow the bikes for late night exercise with an estimated 1,500 users after 11pm, and approximately 1,000 people that ride the YouBikes along the riverside pathways after midnight.

5 Responses to “Taipei’s Eco-friendly YouBike Bicycle Program; Fun and Convenient Way to Tour Taipei”

  • Patsy

    Hi ,

    I want to know which website require to registered the youbike.

    Pls let me know.

    thanks/Ms. Patsy

  • Maknusia

    To bring it one step further, we should give out free for first 2 hours.

    In germany, hotels do provide free for the whole day.

    This will further enhance the usage of cycle…go green!

    Most of the tourist, wont be having local numbers and being new in the country, it will be cumbersome for them…the next way forward should be to have the facilities at hotels as well. Since all the tourist have a registration with the hotel, fraud would be at minimal

    Good Job Taipei!

    Mak

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