YouBike usage better than expected despite new fees
The number of people using Taipei City’s YouBike public bicycle rental service was higher than expected on Wednesday, the first day of a new system of rental fees, according to the city government.
There were 17,338 YouBike rentals recorded between 6 a.m. and noon Wednesday, around 20 percent less than the same period a day earlier, officials said.
However, usage was still 10 percent better than anticipated, said Department of Transportation division head Liu Chia-yu.
However, Liu said short-term fluctuations do not represent consumer behavior, stressing that further analysis is needed.
Starting Wednesday, YouBike users are now charged NT$5 (US$0.16) for the first half-hour, which was previously free. The fees for periods of more than 30 minutes remain the same.
The YouBike system, which was fully implemented in 2012, charges NT$5 for the first 30 minutes, after which users are charged NT$10 per half-hour for the next three-and-a-half hours, NT$20 per half hour for the next four hours, and NT$40 per halfhour after that.
New Taipei City, which has its own bike rental system, continues to offer the first 30 minutes of use free of charge.
The Taipei city government reported that as of October 2014, total ridership since the implementation of the YouBike system had surpassed 30 million.