Announcements were made recently that Chengdu will pilot a free, short-term bicycle-rental program in its southern new area. Concrete details for the program's implementation are to be released as early as next week.
A bike-collection station in Beijing.
Centered around the subway stations in a hexagonal "honeycomb" arrangement, the bicycle-rental stations will be positioned near popular public areas, shopping and commercial centers, and important administrative areas and traffic junctures. The honeycomb layout allows any point to be equidistant from the center.
Residents wishing to borrow a bicycle to ride between a subway station and home, doing shopping, etc. can use their own ID card or other electronic identification cards to borrow bicycles all around the urban district. Bicycles can be returned to any of the rental stations.
Sichuan Provincial standing committee spokesperson Chen Yi stated that "low carbon" is a major theme of future economic development, and that Sichuan should firmly grasp the opportunity to exert its development in such a manner. And that Chengdu, as a major city and the provincial capital, should serve as a role model, and take the opportunity presented by the impending opening of the subway to implement a "low carbon Chengdu."
"The city of Chengdu has already announced that its intention to become a low-carbon city; this is a good start," said Chen Yi.
"In 2010, the opening of Metro Line 1 is one of the city residents' most closely followed issues, and building a 'low-carbon Chengdu' is closely related to this." Chen Yi says that Chengdu should learn from the experience of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, which implemented a low-cost bicycle-rental program along its major corridors in 2008.
Beijing also launched a small-scale program in 2008, as did Shanghai's Minhang District. In Shanghai the program, which is sponsored by the city's iconic Forever Bicycle Company, became so popular that late last year city officials decided to expand it.
Various cities in Europe, most notably Paris, as well as elsewhere across the globe, have launched successful bike-sharing programs in recent years as part of a push for intermodal transportation systems.
But there was no word of how the bicycles are safeguarded against theft, a rampant problem in China's urban areas.