Taipei City Government Ready for U-Cars, Councilors Not So Sure

Taipei City Government Ready for U-Cars, Councilors Not So Sure
Car2Go in Amsterdam, Holland. Photo Credit: Car2Go CC BY-SA 3.0

The Taipei City Government has confirmed that U-Cars will be introduced to the city on December 1. However, the lack of supporting measures for the service has raised criticism from city councilors.

Due to the success of the YouBike system, the Taipei City Government is planning a car rental service based on the same operation model, in which citizens would be able to rent cars from one location and return it at another. It also aims to collaborate with New Taipei City, Keelung City and Taoyuan.

But Taipei city councilors are bringing up the need for supplementary measures before promoting U-Cars.

Councilor Wang Shih-cheng points out that road shortage is currently the biggest issue in Taipei’s transportation system, and along with the dispute between Uber and taxi services, the logic behind pushing for U-Cars now seems to be confusing.

Wang also says that currently it is already hard enough to find a parking space in the city, but the government is looking to add 736 more public parking spaces for U-Cars, which is the same as depriving citizens’ rights of parking in public.

Councilor Hsu Shu-hua says from records of meetings between the Taipei-Keelung metropolitan area and Taoyuan City, not only has New Taipei City stated that it would not be a part of the U-Car service for the time being, but Keelung City has also said that it would only make evaluations after the service starts operating in Taipei.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Chung Hui-yu says the implementation of U-Cars is not to relieve traffic, but to decrease the need to purchase cars and eventually cut back the amount of parking spaces.

Chung says according to statistics, the usage frequency of one shared car equals to that of 8 to 15 privately owned cars, and the extra parking spaces can be used for sidewalks, bicycle paths and planting trees.

The commissioner also points out that though other cities seem to be disinterested in working with Taipei City at the moment, the operation of YouBikes also originated from Xinyi District and has now expanded to all over the city and New Taipei City.

As for the effect on taxi services in Taiwan, Chung says the usage duration of U-Cars is estimated to be longer than taking a single taxi ride. With the rental price of a U-Car expected to be around NT$200 an hour (approximately US$6.6 per hour), it doesn’t seem likely the service would affect taxi businesses.

Sources:
NOWnews
CNA
UDN
Liberty Times
Apple Daily