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DOT to Review YouBike Rates

To ensure the sustainability of Taipei’s YouBike public rental bicycle system, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it will review the rates of YouBike rental based more on a usage-pricing model.

According to the agency, the number of daily hires of Taipei’s YouBike system has exceeded 70,000 – higher than the public bicycle rental systems at major international cities such as Paris and London.

Further analysis of the data shows that repeat users who hire the vehicle for short-distance commute account for the majority of YouBike patrons. Statistics indicate that 80-percent of the users access the public bicycle system less than four times a month. On the other hand, repeat users who hire the bicycle more than 10 times a month accounts for only 5.8-percent of total users.

On the duration of travel, the average riding time of YouBike is 25 minutes, with 81-percent of riders limiting their travel time to under 30 minutes.

According to DOT, the success of YouBike can be attributed to the following factors: the absence of annual membership fees; relatively low price for hiring bicycles; simple registration process; and large number of rental stations.

The agency reported that the public rental bicycle system of major international cities around the world only offers free rental time to registered members paying annual fees. For example, annual subscriptions to public bicycle rental system in New York, London, and Paris cost respectively USD 95, GBP 90, and EUR 29. The fees charged for the first 30 minutes after the free period expires are respectively USD 4, GBP 1, and EUR 1.

Currently, there is no annual subscription fee for YouBike, and only NT$10 is charged every 30 minutes after the expiration of free minutes. Even if the rates were to change in the future, DOT stressed that Taipei’s YouBike system is still comparatively more affordable than the public bicycle rental systems of the aforementioned cities.