Text by Qian Qian
Every morning, Deng Minhua, of western Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, swipes her card at a public bicycle rental station near her home. According to the leasing regulations, renting a bike for less than an hour is free. Therefore, it costs her nothing to get to work, and more importantly, she no longer worries about terrible traffic.
Today in Hangzhou, 2,051 rental stations offer 51,500 bicycles, each of which averages usage by about five riders a day. In downtown areas, such stations can be found every 300 meters, and 70 percent of them provide 24-hour services. Public bicycles have become a popular means of transportation for more and more citizens of Hangzhou.
A Free Hour
On May 1, 2008, Hangzhou established China’s first public bicycle leasing system as part of its public transit.
According to the rules, those between the ages of 16 and 70 with riding skills can rent a bicycle at any leasing station, where they pay with the local public transit IC card, or lay down a 300-yuan cash deposit along with their ID card. It is free for the first hour, 1 yuan for the second hour, 2 yuan for the third hour, and 3 yuan per hour thereafter.......