U-Cars Will Be Introduced To Taipei By December

U-Cars Will Be Introduced To Taipei By December
Photo Credit: Autolib' Facebook Page

Translated and compiled by Kelly Lai

People will soon be able to rent cars from public parking lots in Taipei. On March 20, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je announced the idea of using the YouBike model to introduce low-carbon vehicles, U-Cars, to allow citizens to rent automobiles with their credit cards or EasyCards.

Ko says a large number of cars in the city are set aside and take up a lot of space on the streets.

YouBike has been successful since 2012, providing over 57 million trips up to today (March 24, 2016), and the trend doesn’t seem to be fading soon according to given data from YouBike’s official website. The idea of YouBike being brought forward to eco-friendly automobiles could as well be popular.

According to Liberty Times Net, commissioner of the Department of Transportation, Chung Hui-yu, says that diesels would be used for the beginning of the program. The operation model would be based on YouBike’s system, in which citizens would be able to rent cars from one location and return it at another.

The government would consult other car-rental businesses for the pricing of U-Cars, which would be cheaper than taxicabs. For example, driving a U-Car from the Taipei City Government to Taipei Neihu Science and Technology Park would cost NT$180 (approximately US$5.5), which taking a taxi would cost an additional NT$30 (approximately US$1).

Liberty Times Net reports, along with the rising awareness of environmental issues, Germany and France have also started providing similar services, hoping to reduce carbon emission and improve traffic conditions. Autolib’, a full electric and open-access car sharing service in France, started running in December, 2011, was inspired by Velib’, a local bike sharing system.

According to The Guardian, Autolib’ membership increased from 5,650 a month in 2012 to 155,000 in July 2014. Within two years, members have clocked up a total of 30.4 million miles. A survey in 2013 found half of the Autolib’ subscribers believing it was possible for them to not purchase a vehicle of their own, and around 25% of the users felt that Autolib’ has become their primary vehicle source.

Taipei City plans to start the U-Car program on December 1 this year with placing four to six U-Cars in 100 public parking lots around the city. The system might be expanded to Taoyuan, New Taipei City, and Keelung City in the future.

However, some netizens worry that local auto-rental and taxi businesses would be in competition with the government. In addition, there is currently no efficient way to replace the U-Cars or create additional parking spaces when either of them run out.

Edited by Olivia Yang

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Liberty Times Net
Liberty Times Net
YouBike Official Site
Autolib Official Site
Yahoo News