When driving a car through the streets of Seoul, it’s common to see people riding bicycles along the city’s bike paths—enjoying the beauty of Seoul with their hair flowing in the wind.
Recently, more and more people in Seoul are riding bicycles not only for exercise but to commute to and from work. Amid this trend arose “Seoul Bikes.”
From November 2010 to April 2015, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) conducted a trial run of a public bike system in Seoul as a means of assessing citizens’ demand for a public bicycle-sharing system. Based on the results, the city government decided to launch a public bicycle-sharing system in order to promote bicycles as a practical means of daily transportation for the citizens of Seoul. To this end, the city developed a high-efficiency, low-cost, public bicycle-sharing service as well as an associated brand. Collected through surveys, citizens’ preferences were reflected in the name of the service as well as in the designs of the bikes and bike-rental stations. This is how Seoul Bike “Ttareungi” (named after the sound a bike bell makes) was born.
|Rent a Seoul Bike||People riding Seoul Bikes|
Seoul Bike rental stations are located throughout the city, making it easy and convenient for people to access and use the bikes, and there are many biking courses in and around Seoul to choose from and enjoy. If you want to see historical and cultural heritage sites around Seoul, rent a bike from one of the rental stations near Changgyeonggung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwanghwamun (Sejong Center for the Performing Arts), or City Hall Station (Deoksugung Palace and Seoul Museum of Art). Or if you would like to get a glimpse of the more vibrant and active neighborhoods of Seoul and enjoy some great food and shopping, grab a bike at stations near Myeongdong Cathedral or Euljiro 1-ga Station (Myeongdong), Sinchon Station or Yonsei-ro Myeongmul-gil (Sinchon), Hongik University Station, Sangsu Station, or Hapjeong Station (Hongdae). For those looking to enjoy the wide open spaces of Seoul, such as the Hangang Parks, it would be a good idea to pick up a bike from the docking stations near Yeouinaru Station, Ttukseom Resort, Seoul Forest, World Cup Park, or Yeouido Park.
Since renting and using Seoul Bikes is so easy and convenient for everyone, the number of foreigners using the bicycle-sharing system has grown. From October 2015 to June 2016, a total of 2,357 foreigners registered for the Seoul Bike system, renting Seoul Bikes on 2,572 occasions.
With the increasing use of the Seoul Bike system by Seoul citizens as well as foreign tourists, SMG has been gradually increasing the number of bicycles for rental and expanding the system to the greater Seoul area. It aims to make 20,000 bicycles available by 2020.
This year, more stations have been installed in areas near the places where Seoul Bike stations have already been established, and 450 additional stations have yet to be installed in Dongdaemun, Yongsan, and Yangcheon. Along with these new stations, 5,600 new bicycles will be put into circulation, further increasing the convenience of renting and using bikes for Seoul citizens.
|Green, eco-friendly design||Traditional Korean design|
Seoul Bikes are available in two different designs—a green, eco-friendly design and a more traditional design inspired by the patterns of traditional Korean wrapping cloths. These stylish Seoul Bikes were deployed within Seoul’s Four Great Gates area last May, and are now available for rental.
① Rent a bike using the Seoul Bike app
Anyone over the age of 15 with a smartphone can rent a Seoul Bike.
All you have to do to rent a bike is install the Seoul Bike app on your smartphone or go to the Seoul Bike website (www.bikeseoul.com) to purchase a pass. Next, you just choose the bike-rental station and bike you want and swipe your membership card over the terminal installed on the bike.
|How to rent a bike||How to return a bike|
For the Seoul Bike membership card, you can simply register your T-Money transportation card or other postpaid transportation card. If you don’t have one, you can rent a bike by installing the Seoul Bike app on your smartphone and scanning the QR Code at the docking station.
The Seoul Bike passes offered include: the One-Day Pass (KRW 1,000), Seven-Day Pass (KRW 3,000), One-Month Pass (KRW 5,000), Six-Month Pass (KRW 15,000), and One-Year Pass (KRW 30,000). An important point to note is that you need to return the bike to a docking station within one hour of renting it—if you need to use the bike longer, you will need to rent it again. The reason for this is to prevent a small number of people from monopolizing the use of the bikes, thereby ensuring that there are always bikes available for all members and pass holders when they need them.
The Seoul Bike system offers benefits in connection with Seoul’s mass transportation system, including buses and subways. If you take a bus or subway within 30 minutes of returning a Seoul Bike, you will receive a “mileage benefit” of 100 points (equivalent to KRW) per ride, accumulating up to 200 points a day and 15,000 points a year.
However, this “mileage benefit” is available only to members who have purchased a One-Year Pass, and the accumulated points can be used as cash when purchasing another One-Year Pass.
③ Bike rental for foreigners
Seoul Bikes can be rented by foreign tourists as well. The Seoul Bike website and terminals on the bikes provide instructions and information in English, Chinese, and Japanese for the convenience of foreign tourists. To rent a Seoul Bike, foreigners can register their mass transportation season pass (M-pass) or T-Money transportation card as a Seoul Bike membership card.
In addition, foreigners who are registered residents of Seoul can rent Seoul Bikes in the same way Seoul citizens do. Foreign tourists, however, cannot complete the identity authentication step necessary to rent a bike in this way, requiring them to purchase a pass with a KRW 50,000 deposit in the form of a credit card hold. Once the bike is returned and the pass is expired, the credit card hold will be cancelled.