CBD’s commuters saddled with another bike rental scheme

Yet another bike rental project  is set to promote pedal power to Beijing’s commuters as part of a plan to relieve congestion and help the city go greener.

The Central Business District (CBD) will become Chaoyang district’s first pilot region for the rental business, city authorities announced Monday. Commuters remain skeptical that the scheme will be effective as countless other bike rental companies have failed before.

The four pilot outlets will share 200 bikes, said Su Chaowei, publicity office employee of the Chaoyang District Commission of Transport.

According to Monday’s Beijing Evening News, cyclists should register and pay a 300-yuan ($46.38) deposit. The first 30 minutes are free, with riders paying 0.5 yuan ($0.077) for the next half hour. Every hour after that will be charged at 1 yuan ($0.15).

The bikes are attached to “electronic locking pillars” in unmanned parking lots. “There will be no people maintaining the bikes so they’ll be worn out within a year,” said Bai Xiuying, manager of Bicycle Rental, a company that started in 2005.

“Besides, how many people will return the bikes within 30 minutes?”

Bai’s company has tried to interest the government in a free rental model for many years in return for the right to advertise at rental sites. “We learned a lot after losing 67 million yuan ($10.36 million) and 6 years of practice,” said Bai, who added that it is forbidden to install advertisements at bike parking lots.

“And now the government wants to lead the project, but its way won’t work,” she said.

Commuters are not sold on the idea either.

“Beijing’s traffic condition is hostile to cyclists, I wouldn’t risk my life riding a bike,” said Chen Kai, 26, who travels 3 kilometers every day to work in the CBD. “And I’d probably buy a bike, not rent one as it’s inconvenient,” he added.

Source: Global Times

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