Beijing initiates pilot public bike rental service project

Beijing has formally initiated the pilot public bike rental service project and will attempt to build 273 outlets providing universal bike rental and return services along subway lines by the end of 2010, according to a report by the Beijing Times.

The public bike rental outlets will apply the real-name registration system and a free and paid service mode unlike previous bike renting services. It will gain strong government support in terms such as tax and the provision of land in order to contribute to Beijing's "Green Trip" initiative.

According to Beijing Fangzhou Lvchang Public Bike Service Company (Beijing Fangzhou Lvchang), the company will popularize public bike rental services in four major pilot urban areas. The four areas are within a scope no more than two kilometers away from Subway Line 4 from the National Library Station to Yuanmingyuan Station, Subway Line 5 in Dongcheng District, Subway Batong Line from Baliqiao Station to Tuqiao Station and Subway Line 10.

The bike rental service outlets in the pilot areas will mainly be established at subway stations and also be built at nearby business districts, tourist sites, large-scale public facilities and residential communities. The company is attempting to build 273 outlets along Subway Line 4 and 5 by the end of 2010. The construction of outlets along the Batong Line and Line 10 is currently under design and will start in 2011.

Beijing Fangzhou Lvchang has already established the first public bike rental service outlet at the northern plaza of Beijing South Railway Station, but has yet to put it into operation because of related systems testing.

Beijing Fangzhou Lvchang will apply a free and paid rental service mode unlike previous bike rental modes, under which, the first-hour will be free of charge and any overtime rental time will be charged.

An officer from Beijing Fangzhou Lvchang said they have not applied the totally free service mode because with the paid service mode, they hope they can keep some people from keeping rented bikes for a long period and increase the utilization rate of the bikes, so more people can access the public service.

In terms of the rate of overtime rental fees, the officer said, "To contribute to the 'Green Trip' and encourage residents to rent bikes, the overtime fees are nominal and initially set at 0.5 to 1 yuan per hour."

[source:People's Daily Online]