Wanna tour Beijing? Rent a bike. The Olympic city plans to put 50,000
bicycles for rent across the city ahead of the Games to curb pollution and ease
Brand new bikes will be available at 230 outlets close to subway stations,
commercial districts, Olympic venues, hotels and office buildings as well as in
big communities, according to a "rent a bike" program carried out by Beijing
Bicycle Rental Services, a Beijing-based company.
The company has so far put 5,000 bikes for rent at 30 franchise outlets close
to the Beijing Workers Stadium, the Drum Tower, the Forbidden City and the Xidan
commercial street, according to the company's website.
Before next August, the network will be expanded to cover major communities
and all the Olympic venues, said Wang Yong, general manager of Beijing Bicycle
Rental Services. "Organizations and individuals are welcome to join our service
network for free, as long as they can provide an area about the size of one
Wang said his company would provide all the bikes for rent, and franchise
outlets would get 1 Yuan a day for each bike they operate as running costs.
"The outlets will also get profit sharing at the end of each month, based on
their own business incomes," he said. "Not every outlet can make a profit, as
people can rent a bike at one outlet and drop it somewhere else close to their
The bicycle rental program is also sponsored by the Beijing Environment
Protection Bureau as well as the anti-theft arm of the municipal public security
bureau, because bicycles are frequently stolen in the city.
"This is like a centralized management of bicycles so that citizens won't
have to worry about thefts," said police officer Wang Xiaobing.
To embrace next year's Olympic Games, Beijing, a city with 3 million motor
vehicles and more than 4 million drivers, is working all-out to ease congestion
and curb pollution.
Monday is the last day of Beijing's four-day experiment to test whether
pulling 1.3 million cars off its roads each day would prove effective in
reducing air pollution during the Games.
Drivers with even-numbered license plates, excluding taxis, buses and
emergency vehicles, were told to stay off the roads on Friday and Sunday or face
fines. Odd-numbered cars were banned on Saturday and Monday.
Experts say pulling 1.3 million motor vehicles off the roads in Beijing each
day can reduce exhaust emissions by 40 percent.
Though Beijing's sky remained mostly gray and misty as a result of stuffy,
humid late summer weather, nearly everyone felt the roads were smoother. "Going
to work by bus took me only 15 minutes," said Zhang Jianguo, a government
employee. "Driving took almost the same time."