Great news – Beijing finally has a bike-sharing program! Now I don’t have to worry when the next time my bike is stolen (notice I said *when and not *if), where I’ll be able to easily get a set of wheels to help navigating Beijing’s extremely congested streets. So far, I’ve seen bike-share pods near subway entrances and near popular attractions (such as Sanlitun’s mixed-use retail, restaurant, and office spaces). Originally when I read about the new bike sharing program, I was disheartened to learn that only Beijing residents with a “北京市二代居民身份证“ or second-generation Beijing registration could use the system, but foreign friends tell me that foreigners may be able to use it by paying a 200 RMB deposit. I’ve seen a few Chinese people around Sanlitun use the bikes, but some of my Chinese friends doubt that it will really take off. The reasons may be 1) most Chinese who bike already own a bike, as they are relatively cheap to purchase in Beijing; 2) more and more Chinese are owning cars; 3) Depending on the distribution of bike pods (I still haven’t seen a map with all of the stations), it may not be worth it to some people to use. I certainly would have signed up in a heartbeat for this service when I was living here in 2010-2011. I had two bikes at that time – one downtown and one at school because Tsinghua’s campus is so expansive. It would have been nice to use the bike-share system so that I wouldn’t have had to buy a second bike just for getting around campus. What do you think, will bike sharing take off in Beijing?
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