SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 1, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government introduced Saessak Ttareungi, a smaller and lighter version of its the hugely popular public bicycle, designed for teenagers and young adults.
Seoul will place some 500 Saessak Ttareungi in the Songpa-gu, Gangdong-gu and Eunpyeong-gu districts, then gradually expand the number to 2,000 for service throughout the city by January. It may further increase the total, gauging public demand, feedback, and satisfaction.
Saessak Ttareungi, has smaller wheels at 20 inches, compared with the 24-inch wheel of the standard Ttareungi, and weighs 16 kilograms, lighter than the standard 18 kilograms. It has greater nighttime visibility, with attachments to its basket and wheels in neon green to represent the “saessak” in its name, the Korean word for budding plants that sprout in spring.
Saessak Ttareungi was born from an idea put forth by Lee Geun-sang, a high school student who took part in the city’s Youth Policy Forum held in December last year. The Seoul Metropolitan Government adopted Lee’s recommendation that the city design teenager-friendly Seoul Bikes, which were at the time standardized for adult use.
“It feels great to think that I will be able to ride Ttareungi with my younger brother,” Lee said.
“I’m overwhelmed that the city government has adopted my idea, and hope that a lot of people will enjoy riding these new bikes.”
With the launch of Saessak Ttareungi, the city will also expand the age limit for the public bike sharing system to anyone 13 years old or older as of November 30, lowering the previous age limit of 15. The expanded service will include insurance for all of its users, covering casualties, disabilities, liabilities and medical treatment.
The new Saessak Ttareungi is expected to increase the demand for the use of eco-friendly transportation as more teens and young adults make use of the new bicycles to and from schools or learning institutions.
Ttareungi, the city’s public bicycle-sharing system, has grown exponentially with 37,500 bikes in use today, from a mere 2,000 at its launch in September 2015. The city also launched in March upgraded QR-type models, which allow riders to rent and return bikes by inputting their personal QR codes.
The city has also introduced tougher disinfection measures to fight the spread of COVID-19. Its disinfection staffs place hand sanitizer bottles at each of the 2,085 rental stations and make sure to spray eco-friendly disinfectants on the handlebars and LED displays before and after collecting and relocating the bicycles.
“Saessak Ttareungi is symbolic because it is the brainchild of a Seoul citizen, and is the result of the city government’s policy to listen to the public,” said Hwang Bo-yeon, Deputy Mayor for City Transport. “We hope that this new bicycle will allow a wider demographic to use the city’s public bike sharing service. We also advise the public to adhere to personal hygiene guidelines and etiquette to ensure a safe and healthy use of the bicycle, amid a resurging spread of COVID- 19.”