Minhang commuters and residents have been enjoying free bike rides for the last two weeks. No its not a rash of bike stealers – in fact, it’s actually a new government sponsored program partially intended to curb theft.
Joining the government in this venture is Ibikemedia Group International, a local media company that’s providing the first 15000 bikes (only 350 are out and about so far).
All a Minhang resident, aged 16 to 65, needs to do to get a bike is to provide their identity card and information such as their social security number. They then get access cards which can be used on the bike.
Programs like this might not have been quite as successful in certain North-Eastern universities, but somehow we think that the citizens of Shanghai will be a bit more responsible than dumb and drunk college students in the boonies of Vermont.
We’re especially optimistic considering the success of the free bike programs implemented in Beijing last summer for the Olympics. And Beijing’s apparently planning to scale that success up citywide.
Although we haven’t given it a shot yet (and, not being Shanghai hukou holders, we’re not sure we’re actually allowed to), we applaud the non-traditional manner that Shanghai’s government and Ibikemedia are using to try an curb more emission-heavy forms of transportation. We may have more blue skies yet!