Bei­jing launches real-time pub­lic bicycle app

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CHI­NADAILY

Bei­jing launched its first real-time pub­lic bicycle app on AugThurs­day,25, as Septem­ber— the most con­gested month of the year— ap­proaches.

The ap­pli­ca­tion, which is in­te­grated into the Bei­jing Trans­port app, pro­vides re­al­time location data, in­clud­ing nearby rental sta­tions and the num­ber of avail­able bikes and open docks.

Users can eas­ily de­ter­mine avail­abil­ity by the color of rain­drop-shaped icons.

“We are pro­mot­ing the pub­lic bicycle sys­tem to raise aware­ness that rid­ing bikes is a way to live a healthy, green and low-car­bon life,” said Jiao Tong­min, a di­rec­tor at the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Trans­port in charge of pub­lic bi­cy­cles.

Septem­ber is usu­ally the most con­gested month of the year in Bei­jing, with stu­dents re­turn­ing from their summer va­ca­tions, and the Mid-Au­tumn Fes­ti­val and sub­se­quent Na­tional Day hol­i­days prompt­ing peo­ple to take trips or visit fam­ily.

As one of many mea­sures to deal with the pro­jected traf­fic, Bei­jing has added 8,000 pub­lic bikes to its sys­tem, which be­gan in 2012. Bei­jing now has 68,000 pub­lic bi­cy­cles — about three times the num­ber in Paris, the largest sys­tem out­side China. They are dis­trib­uted in more than 2,000 sta­tions to more than 700,000 reg­is­tered users.

“China used to be a king­dom of bi­cy­cles, and we have rea­son to be­lieve that bi­cy­cles will have their prime again soon,” said Zhang Weimin, deputy cu­ra­tor of the China Bi­cy­cleMu­seum.

How­ever, some cities have had prob­lems de­vel­op­ing a sys­tem. For in­stance, once boast­ing nearly 100,000 bikes, Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince, need a one-year hia­tus in 2014 to deal with the af­ter­math of the pre­vi­ously poorly-run com­pany be­fore it could restart the ser­vice in 2015.

One rea­son for the pause was the in­con­ve­nience of bor­row­ing and re­turn­ing bikes due to awk­ward lo­ca­tions and fre­quent ap­pa­ra­tus mal­func­tion.

Bei­jing has con­sid­ered these prob­lems as well.

“We’ve al­ready in­cluded ser­vices alert­ing the sta­tions in our WeChat sub­scrip­tion ac­count, andthis timewealso in­cluded it in the ap­pli­ca­tion,” said Rong Jun, a mem­ber of the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Trans­port.

Other func­tions in­te­grated in the ap­pli­ca­tion in­clude re­al­time bus in­for­ma­tion that pro­vides ac­tual bus lo­ca­tions and es­ti­mated time of ar­rival at a cer­tain sta­tion, road con­ges­tion in­for­ma­tion and li­cense­plate lottery re­sults. The size of crowds in sub­ways and lo­ca­tions of charg­ing sta­tions for elec­tric cars are in the works for fu­ture up­dates.

are now avail­able in Bei­jing.

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