U-bike – the perfect way to get around Taipei

A Swazi student at TMU, Sharoon Hlatshway, demonstrates how to swipe the Easycard and rent a bike. Now it's your turn!
By Trista di Genova, The Wild East

Once you get started, it’s addictive. And now, if you use it for less than 30 minutes, it’s free! So when you ‘check out’ a U-bike you’re basically getting a free ride around town, faster than all the other means of transport — as well as getting a good workout!

So there are no more excuses not to take advantage of this ride!

In the past few years, the Taipei city government has been phasing in an enormously popular city-wide system of bicycle rentals, mos located near MRT stations, available on a 24/7 basis.

All it requires is a 5-minute registration at the kiosks next to any of the 62 U-bike stations around town. Use your Easy card (the same one as for the MRT and buses), enter your cellphone number; a four-digit number is sent to your cellphone for confirmation. Then you’re good to go!

After the first half-hour, it’s 10NT every 30 minutes. Check the youbike.com.tw website for a map of rental stations, currently only within Taipei City.

One Taiwan resident registers at a U-bike kiosk while another gets ready to rent one, at Taipei Medical University, May 27, 2013. Photo: Trista di Genova
There is one potential problem to look out for, especially when coming home late at night to one of the more popular stations – such as Guting near ShiDa (NTNU) or Gongguan (near NTU). There might be a surplus of bikes and it might be necessary to wait until someone checks them out! Or in the case of the station near Taipei 101, there may be no bikes to rent after work (more reason to download the map of U-bike stations from the Department of Transportation, at youbike.com.tw).

This very complaint was published in the Taipei Times newspaper, and in response Taiwan Department of Transportation arranged for additional bikes to be dealt with at the most frequented stations.

Enjoy the ride!

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