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January 27, 2010

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Bikes scheme hits snag at Metro stations

TRIAL schemes offering free bicycles for commuters to get to Metro stations have run into a snag.

A lack of parking facilities means they have problems with what to do with the bikes before they take the subway.

Some bikes had even been confiscated by urban management officials because of illegal parking.

The city should use car plate auction revenue to set up parking for bicycles at Metro stations, a top political advisory body member said yesterday.

Feng Maolun, a political advisor, submitted the proposal to the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference yesterday, asking the city government to build a couple of bicycle parking compounds within three years.

"With the new free bicycle service, more and more residents are willing to take bicycles for short distance trips to avoid traffic jams," Feng wrote in his proposal.

"It is a way to protect the environment and keep healthy as well," he added.

The city already has pilot programs offering free bicycles in areas such as Minhang District and the Pudong New Area.

The scheme is also aimed at solving the problem of commuters living far from Metro stations.

In the program, commuters can apply for a bike-rental card and use it to pick up free bicycles.

But a lack of parking facilities near Metro stations is acting as a deterrent.

"The parking compounds will surely encourage more people to take bikes, and thus cutting the demands for unlicensed cabs," Feng said.

"Besides, the setting up of the compounds around Metro stations will also naturally link up the two transport measures," Feng said.


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