According to Tree Hugger, Hangzhou’s Public Transport Corporation (HPTC) is expanding access to its publicly accessible bike-share program in order to provide a “seamless connection of bicycle-based slow-speed traffic to metro and bus-based public traffic facilities.” Hangzhou’s bike share program will grow to 50,000 bikes from the currently available 15,000 bikes, surpassing Paris’s popular Velib bike-share program, which offers more than 20,000. Bike Sharing blog says people will find bike-sharing stations every 100 meters. Currently, bike sharing stations are found every 300 meters in Paris.
Bike-Sharing blog quotes Lu Zhihong, Deputy General Manager, Hangzhou Public Transport Corporation as saying: “Public bicycle outlets will become as popular as public telephone booths along streets. In the future, residents will largely ride bicycles to go shopping in food markets and supermarkets, or to go to the office.”
TreeHugger says Hangzhou’s bike-share program provides the first full hour of service for free. “After that the next hour costs a modest one yuan ($.15), two yuan for the following hour and three yuan for every additional hour up to 24 hours. By March of this year, the service was claiming each bike was used an average of 5 times daily.”
Additionally, in contrast with the European bike-share systems, Hangzhou has embedded a point-of-sale system directly into the bikes. “HPTC claims that it has simplified the rental process if compared with European bike share systems. This makes it easier for a user to end a rental by pulling a bike into a bike stall, swipe their local transport card over the bike itself, and walking away, reducing time from about five minutes to just one minute, HPTC said. HPTC plans to become economically solvent by putting advertisements on the bikes and at bike return spots.”
HPTC says not a single bike has been stolen in the service’s first year of operation, and very few have been damaged or vandalized. In contrast, Paris’s Velib bike-share program has reported that almost half of the original Velibs were stolen, or damaged.
Image credit: Code for Something blog