New YouBike Registration Policy Creates Hurdles for Foreigners in Taipei

New YouBike Registration Policy Creates Hurdles for Foreigners in Taipei
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What you need to know

A new regulation prompting YouBike to require personal information for membership registration excludes foreign residents from being insured at the moment.

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YouBike, Taipei’s citywide bicycle rental system, adopted a new membership policy on December 1, effectively preventing all foreigners from registering for the service.

The new policy requires users to register with a Taiwanese mobile number, an EasyCard, and a local Taiwanese ID card, and a birthday. Foreign IDs, including Alien Resident Certificates (ARC) and Alien Permanent Resident Card (APRC), are not permitted according to YouBike. Before the new policy, YouBike registration simply required an EasyCard and a local phone number.

“Considering how widely used YouBike is, this is a fairly discriminatory policy,” said James Bell, 34, a Taipei resident from New Zealand. “Many of us have given years of service to Taiwan and pay taxes like everyone else, but we’re made to jump through hoops to use a normal public service.”

Taipei’s Department of Transportation (DOT) said the new requirement is an effort to enforce personal injury and third-party liability insurance. Once YouBike riders enter their personal information, they are automatically insured against accidental injuries. However, the insurance scheme is strictly for citizens only.

When a user inquired about the new requirement, YouBike’s customer service responded: “If you have friends or relatives in Taiwan, we highly recommend that you can use their cellphone number and register with your EasyCard below their account on our website."

Another alternative would be to make a one-time rental at a YouBike Kiosk with a credit card. Each rental, however, would require a deposit of NT$2,000. The deposit amount would be returned to the account after 15 working days, according to YouBike.

Most existing users can still access the service without inputting the personal data required.

“Foreigners can still use YouBike, but they just won’t be insured for personal injuries for now,” said Huang Ju-miao, a senior specialist at the Taipei DOT. “We hope to work with YouBike to provide insurance for ARC and APRC holders in Taiwan soon and perhaps even for tourists in the future.”

However, new users attempting to register on the YouBike website with an ARC or APRC number are being denied as “invalid ID” as of today.

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TNL Editor: Daniel Kao (@thenewslensintl)

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