New Taipei Opens 300th YouBike Station

Taipei YouBike

An opening ceremony was held this morning for the 300th YouBike station in New Taipei City, bringing the total number of YouBikes in New Taipei to 8,000, UDN reported. The city targets 350 total stations. There are currently 237 stations in Taipei City, according to the YouBike website.

Monthly ridership has reached 1.5 million users. The newest station opened in Tucheng District. The bikes are also available in Taoyuan, Taichung, and Changhua.

Giant chairman King Liu praised the city’s commitment to promoting public bikes as Taipei and New Taipei have expanded the service more than other cities around the world.

New Taipei has pledged to maintain free first 30 minutes for the YouBikes. Taipei City ended the free 30 minutes last April as the program was running a deficit because the majority of riders used the bikes for less than 30 minutes at a time. Despite residents begrudging the change in fee structure, ridership did not suffer much and revenue increased.

According to New Taipei City Department of Transportation statistics, more than 50,000 YouBike rides are taken each day with 25% of riders using the public bike system instead of a motorbike for commuting. The public bikes are most popular among residents between 20 and 29 years old.

1 Comment

  1. First off, I’d like to state upfront that I find YouBike a truly excellent city bicycle sharing program, one of the best I’ve experienced around the world. I’ve lived in Taipei for 4 years, coinciding with the introduction and expansion of YouBike throughout the city, and feel it greatly contributes to Taipei, improving public mobility options and reducing the need to rely on scooters that severely pollute and degrade the urban environment. I research pollution in Taiwan and am aware of the impact of vehicle emissions on human health. Lung cancer and liver cancer are the #1 and #2 most common cancers in Taiwan, both tied to pollution. PM2.5, the ultra fine particles formed by the interaction of emissions with oxygen cannot be filtered out by the body’s defense system, and over time create an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Asthma rates are on the rise as well as a host of other health impacting complications involving pollution.

    I had long noticed how the YouBike diesel service trucks which load and unload bicycles at stations throughout the city, typically park for around 10–20 minutes to do so. The YouBike truck drivers consistently leave their diesel engine running during this time, even though the trucks remain stationary and there’s no need to run the engine These diesel trucks are very high emission vehicles. The effect of this is felt particularly strongly by YouBike users as they return or pick-up bicycles in close proximity to them, as close as a meter and half. I’ve brought an air quality measuring device to the stations and can confirm air quality is significantly worse close to these diesels trucks, a well-known scenario.

    To be more consistent with the purpose and image of YouBike, which is to help green the city of Taipei, I sought to influence a change in YouBike policy and practice, and have the service vehicles operators be required to simply shut their engines off if parked in one location for longer than 1–3 minutes. This would be consistent with YouBike’s goals of improving the urban environment in Taipei, and spare users the displeasure and risk of exposure to such high emission vehicles as they use the service. . Vehicle emissions are the #1 source of ground level urban pollution for residents, with scooters, trucks and busses having the greatest impact upon our health. Shutting off the engines while parked, would improve an already tremendous bicycle share program that we rely upon in our city commuting experience

    Out of these concerns, I took the initiative to repeatedly contact and effectively lobby YouBike to make an adjustment in their practices, encouraging a simple shut-off of trucks engines during the 10–20 minute loading period, carried out numerous times per day. Over several months, with many phone calls and emails to the city and YouBike, as well as a meeting with management between members of a clean vehicle advocacy organization, YouBike has now officially taken up changing the previous habit of their drivers. Senior level management has emphasized the policy in clear terms, and any driver violation will be addressed.

    Today at a YouBike station in Xindian, I witnessed the implementation of this new approach for the first time. It was an absolute pleasure to see. A YouBike crew loaded some 20 bicycles over 15 minutes from a large station onto their parked diesel truck – in perfect silence! No clammering diesel engine was running, zero pollution was emitted, and the company fully honored the beauty of the bicycle – its green and silent nature. The long-awaited moment had arrived, and it was truly a rewarding experience.

    Bicycles and bike share programs have an vital role to play in addressing the pollution and noise of the urban environment, and I look forward to the further growth of YouBike, continuing to set the right example for the city in new ways. Their use of a number of clean, zero-tailpipe emission electric “e-moving” scooters is another great example of helping the city and maintaining an image consistent with the larger goals of a bicycle share program. Perhaps in the future, we may see YouBike go one step further, and utilize only electric trucks to manage collection and distribution of their bicycles, charged by the company via a solar PV array. That level of dedication to greening the city would be extraordinary, yet imminently feasible in Taiwan, the second largest producer of solar equipment globally, mostly for export.

    My sincere thanks and appreciation to YouBike for continuing to improve the urban experience in Taipei. May the future be brighter still.

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