Powering Past Paris, Hangzhou Will Have 50,000 Bike-Share Bikes


Photo at Hzzxc.com.cn via Google Translate.

Tucked at the end of this great post about Hangzhou, China at the blog Code for Something was some pretty big news about the city's bike share. Hangzhou, with roughly the same number of inhabitants as Paris, is planning to whiz by the City of Lights (which has approximately 20,000 Vélib bike share bikes) by beefing up its offering from 16,000 to 50,000 bright orangey-red bikes by year's end.

Solving the 'final kilometer' puzzle

Tracing back to the Bike-Sharing blog for some more information, it seems the Hangzhou Public Transport Corporation set up the city's bike share scheme last year to aid, according to China.org.cn:

"seamless connection of bicycle-based slow-speed traffic with metro and bus-based public traffic facilities,"

said Huang Zhiyao, general manager of Hangzhou Public Transport Corporation (HPTC).

Higher daily usage than Vélibs

The story goes on to describe how citizens and tourists alike have taken to the bike share scheme, which (even better than Vélib) offers users 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. Hangzhou bikes don't have the flair of Vélib but are definitely serviceable, with plastic front baskets, a bike skirt, and a bell. By March of this year, the service was claiming each bike was used an average of 5 times daily. While it aims to be tourist friendly, it may take up to 10 days to get the bike deposit back for travelers.

But what, no vandalism?

In the most incredible piece of information in the China.org story, HPTC claims that not a single bike has been stolen in the service's first year of operation, and very few bikes (0.5%) are damaged or vandalized. Contrast that with the tale of woe told by JCDecaux, Vélib's operator, which claims that at least half of the original Vélibs were stolen, wrecked, or defaced. HPTC puts users who do not return bikes onto a black list and they are denied the ability to be part of the system for life! Pretty harsh.

Better technology than Vélib

HPTC claims that it has simplified the rental process if compared with European bike share systems, by installing POS systems directly into the Huangzhou bikes. 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.

To get more information on the Hangzhouz bike share, try going to the (challeging but amusing) official site of the program and translate using Google Translate.

Read more about bike sharing at TreeHugger
Biking Boris Battles Death (Unknowingly) and Other City Cycling Tidbits
Today's the Day! Bixi Bike Sharing Debuts in Montreal
Massive Theft, Vandalism Plaguing Parisian Bike Sharing Program
Short File on Vélib, World's Biggest Bike-Sharing Program in Paris
20000 Rental Bikes to Be Unleashed in Paris

Related Content on Treehugger.com