Beijing prepares bike rental scheme

The city of Beijing in the process of preparing a new government funded bike rental scheme which it hopes will help ease the gridlocked roads in the city.

The move to launch a government funded bike hire system comes after many private companies offering bicycle rental left the market following a slump in profitability. The first bike rental services were launched in Beijing in 2005, with a sharp uptake in bike hire being reported during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, however its popularity has since dwindled with less people taking up the service over the course of the last few years.

The final details of the new bike hire scheme are still being ironed out, however it’s been reported that the 200 bicycles will be available to hire in the Central Business District of the city initially, with bike docking stations located the exits and entrances of subways in this central area.

The price of bike hire is being kept low with the hope this will further entice commuters to take up the scheme. Bike rental will be free for the first half hour, with 0.5 Yuan payable for the next half hour, after this hire is charged at 1 Yuan per hour for a maximum of 48 hours. Those wishing to hire a bicycle through the new system must also pay a deposit of 300 Yuan which is refundable upon the safe return of the bike after a maximum of 48 hours hire.