Seoul Public Bike, Ttareungyi, after 14 months into service, has recorded 1.72 million rentals at 450 rental spots across 11 autonomous districts throughout Seoul. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will increase the number of rental bikes from 5,600 to 20,000 by the end of 2017. With 20,000 bikes, Seoul will become the city with the second largest number of public bikes after Velib in Paris (23,600 as of 2016), which operates the most popularized public bike service in the world.
To that end, the SMG will announce the “Expansion and Improvement Measures for Seoul Public Bike, Ttareungyi” and implement five measures in order to establish public bikes as a practical means of public transportation for the 21st century. The five measures include: ① Increasing the number of bikes to 20,000, ② Formation of the first ‘Seoul Bike Special Zones,’ ③ Improvement of user services, ④ Expansion of the safety infrastructure for bikes including roads dedicated to bikes, and ⑤ Promotion of safety culture.
< Increasing the number of bikes to 20,000 >
The SMG will add 14,400 new public rental bikes in 2017 to provide a total of 20,000 bikes. This will increase the number of bikes per 10,000 citizens from 15 to 20. The number of rental spots will also be expanded from 450 in 11 autonomous districts to 1,300 in all 25 districts. In consideration of the floating population and demand for public bikes and also to allow people to get to the bike soon after transiting from public transportation, new rental spots will be located within 10 to 20 meters away from subway entrances, bus stops or taxi platforms and be placed at intervals of 500m.
< Formation of the first ‘Seoul Bike Special Zones’ >
The SMG will form three Ttareungyi special zones in Seoul. The special zones will allow citizens to navigate their commute to work and school and shopping on the public bike. The goal is to work in connection with urban development projects to start building various infrastructure such as bike roads and rental spots at the planning stage to form residential districts that are optimized for public bike usage.
< Improvement of user services >
Using public bikes will become a lot easier. Starting in June, the ‘self-verification’ stage, which was mandatory for foreigners and non-members of the ‘Seoul Public Bike, Ttareungyi’ app, will be lifted. From then on, anyone can use the public bikes by simply going through the three stages of ‘Mobile Webpage access → Payment for voucher → Rental’ using their credit card or mobile phone. An English service will also be available on the mobile app for foreign tourists.
< Expansion of safety infrastructure for bikes including a road dedicated to bicycles >
Safety regulations for bicycle usage will be reinforced along with the increase in the number of public bikes in Seoul. New bicycle roads will be built across 84.4 kilometers by 2020 with a focus on safety over quantitative expansion. Also, the first bicycle traffic light (bikes can go straight when the light turns green on the bicycle-shaped traffic light) in Seoul will start test operations on Gosanjagyo Bridge in Cheonggyecheon Stream in the first half of 2017 to ensure pedestrian and biker safety.
< Promotion of safety culture >
Lastly, the SMG will promote a safe bicycle culture to reduce accidents and improve the awareness of safety. The SMG will expand upon the ‘Children’s Bike Certification System,’ which grants a license to children who passes written and field tests for bicycles, and target all 300,000 children who attend the 60 elementary schools in the city in 2018. To prevent accidents and promote a healthy bicycle culture, the SMG will expand upon the proportion of customized bicycle safety training programs for children, students, and adults and raise their effectiveness.
The SMG will create safety manuals and videos that contain information on safety instructions as well as laws governing bicycles and distribute them to the Office of Education and autonomous districts in Seoul and also post them on the websites of related organizations.