Friday, February 28, 2014

Minhang's bike rental program goes electronic

The Chinese district Minhang began their bicycle rental program in 2009 to encourage greener transport and help reduce vehicle congestion on the streets. The program offered 19,000 bikes from nearly 600 stations spread around the district, including transit hubs, residential blocks and supermarkets. More than 230,000 honesty cards were issued. A user could pick up a bicycle in one place and return it to a station somewhere else. In the past four years, however, about 1,200 bicycles went missing, and the cost of repairing damaged bikes and replacing lost ones was mounting. Another 1,000 public bicycles will join the program this year, said the commission. Under the revamped program, the Agricultural Bank of China is a co-issuer of the IC card. People can purchase the card at all Minhang branches of the bank. Although the era of the “free lunch” has ended, Minhang’s public bicycle rental program has gained new strength with the use of prepaid IC cards. A three-month trial of the integrated circuit cards was launched following the district’s decision to scrap the original “honesty” system for renting the bicycles, which led to too many lost or stolen bikes and drove up costs. Read more here.

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