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August 15, 2012

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Bicycle rental program to spread

THE bicycle rental service piloted at suburban Metro stations will be available around the city as Shanghai's transport authority pledged to find more ways to get around to residents working and living near traffic hubs.

The government will focus on solving the problem of "the last 1 kilometer," long the focus of complaints by residents who see a lack of options for the last part of their journeys, according to the local development and reform commission.

The bikes are now available at some districts like Minhang and the Pudong New Area.

Most of the bike sites are set close to Metro stations for passengers to rent for going home about 1 kilometer or more away from subway hubs.

Some sites, like the ones in downtown Jing'an District, are mainly for tourists. Similar rental programs have been used in other cities like Hangzhou.

The bike rental fees at Metro stations are relatively low, no more than 1 yuan (16 US cents) for each ride, while fees for tourists are higher, up to 10 yuan.

The bicycle rental program has been implemented in the city for years, but it is still limited to some districts so far because local traffic operators find some bikes are not returned and others are broken during usage.

The riders are supposed to have a bike card and deposit some money, such as 100 yuan, in it, officials said.

The cost also is a consideration. It's estimated that 200,000 bikes are needed citywide and 500 million yuan would have to be invested for the equipment and construction, not to mention the repair fees.

Some bike rental facilities were not popular among Metro passengers, and were removed from stations.

However, the transportation demand is still huge as the Metro network stretches to suburban districts.

Yang Juan, a resident in suburban Jiading District, said better transportation is needed in Jiading's Anting area - Metro Line 11 links Jiading to downtown, but it's not enough.

The district traffic officials said they were doing research on supplying bicycles to the riders. Also, the district will lengthen bus operation times to match Metro operations.


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