The YouBike system in Taiwan (also sometimes written “Ubike”) is a public bicycle-sharing service that has become increasingly popular since its launch in 2009. The YouBike system is a collaborative effort between the Taipei City Department of Transportation and the distinguished Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer, Giant Bicycles, known for their high-quality bikes that have gained worldwide recognition. As of May 2016, the YouBike system had expanded to seven cities, including Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, Taichung City, Changhua County, and Miaoli County. The system consists of more than 17,000 bicycles and 1,500 stations, making it one of the largest bike-sharing systems in the world.
Convenient and Affordable
One of the main reasons for the popularity of the YouBike system is its convenience and affordability. In Taipei City, the rental fee for the first 30 minutes of use is NT$5, and progressive tolls ranging from NT$10 to NT$40 are charged for additional use. The system does not require any yearly deposit or other fees, making it a cost-effective means of transportation. In other cities like New Taipei City, Taichung City, and Changhua County, rental is free for the first 30 minutes, making it even more accessible and attractive to users.
To use a YouBike in Taipei, the charges are as follow:
|First 30 minutes||NT$5|
|Up to 4 hours of rental||NT$10 every 30 minutes|
|For rentals between 4 to 8 hours||NT$20 every 30 minutes|
|For rentals exceeding 8 hours||NT$40 every 30 minutes|
For example, for renting for 5 hours you’ll have to pay: NT$5 + 7NT$10 + 2NT$20 = 115NT$ (or 3.8 US$).
Besides, if you rent a bike within 60 minutes of using the MRT or city bus, you will receive a discount of NT$5 on your YouBike rental.
Registration and Usage
To register for and use the YouBike system, there are a few key things you’ll need:
- An Easycard
- A Taiwanese phone number
Registration is done at a kiosk which are available at most YouBike stations. To begin the registration process, simply select the English language option and follow the prompts. You will need to enter your Taiwanese phone number, and a confirmation code will be sent to you that you’ll then enter into the kiosk. Once your phone number is confirmed, place your Easycard on the panel to complete your registration.
After you’ve registered, renting a bike is a straightforward process. You can use your EasyCard or scan a QR code on the bike to rent it. To locate availableYouBike stations, check bike availability, and track your usage history, the YouBike system provides a mobile app (Android | IOS). Google Maps also locates Youbike stations and accurate status of bike availability.
Note that you need to wait for 15 minutes after releasing a bike before taking another one, so make sure that the bike is not broken before taking it.
The YouBike system has undergone significant improvements over the years to better serve users. In 2020, the YouBike 2.0 system was launched, taking its trials near National Taiwan University. The new system allows bike renting with only smartphones and reduces the limitations of station infrastructure, making it more convenient and accessible for users.
In 2021, the Taipei City government pledged to retire all of the first version of YouBike, YouBike 1.0, by the end of 2022 due to positive feedback on YouBike 2.0. The move highlights the city government’s commitment to providing a sustainable, efficient, and modern transportation system that meets the needs of users.
Starting from March 2023, Tainan City in Taiwan will replace its current T-Bike public bicycle rental system with YouBike 2.0. Renting and returning bikes across city limits will become easier with YouBike 2.0, which is already in use in neighboring Chiayi County and Kaohsiung City. This will also make YouBike the only public bicycle rental system throughout Taiwan.
The YouBike system has contributed significantly to reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and promoting a healthier lifestyle in Taiwan. With its success, other cities and countries have implemented similar bike-sharing systems, and the YouBike system has become a model for urban transportation solutions.
The YouBike system in Taiwan is a highly efficient and convenient bike-sharing service that has gained popularity among locals and tourists. Its extensive network of stations, affordable pricing, and well-maintained bikes make it an integral part of Taiwan’s transportation system. With its numerous benefits, the YouBike system has contributed to a more sustainable, healthier, and eco-friendly environment in Taiwan and is an excellent example of how bike-sharing systems can benefit cities around the world.