By Kim Tae-jong
Seoul plans to launch a free bicycle scheme to encourage citizens and travelers to use this eco-friendly form of transport instead of cars.
The plan is similar to Paris’ Velib, which allows people to borrow a bike from special racks set up around the city, an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government said.
The Seoul authority is now seeking proper measures to launch the Seoul version of Velib since the new bike-friendly policies came into effect in May, the official said.
Launched last month in Paris, Velib is aimed for green transport and avoiding traffic jams in the city.
The city authorities have provided 20,000 public bicycles at about 750 bicycle stations. Travelers and citizens alike can simply swipe their ordinary travel cards and borrow the bike for a short trip.
They do not need to return the bike to the same pick-up point, but can leave it at the nearest Velib stand where their journey ends.
The first half hour is free but bike users have to pay for every additional 30 minutes. A subscription payment ranging from one day to a few months is also available.
But the problem facing Seoul is that it lacks the infrastructure such as cycle routes and bike racks.
The city plans to first set up 200 bike stations in Songpa-gu where cycle routes are well prepared with about 5,000 bikes and expand the project to other areas of the city.