Vietnam’s southern metropolis will trial a public bicycle sharing scheme in an effort to limit private vehicles.
Called Mobike, the project will see 388 bicycles parked at 43 stations in Districts 1 and 3, the heart of HCMC.
Each will be rented out at a proposed cost of VND10,000 ($0.43) per hour and half for 30 minutes, with the one-year pilot scheme expected to boost public transportation development.
The 43 bicycle stations will go up along sidewalks and bus stations around District 1, and along Dien Bien Phu and Vo Thi Sau streets in District 3, where the city is studying priority public bus lanes.
The municipal Department of Transport said Friday the city administration had last week agreed in principle to pilot the project.
As planned, all bicycles in use would be equipped with smart, GPS-equipped locks operated via 3G, 4G and 5G connections, or Bluetooth. Users will have to install the Mobike app on their phones before scanning and searching for the nearest station.
Users must top up their bank accounts linked with the Mobike app to pay for the service and provide certain personal information on registration. This would enable authorities to easily track down culprits in the event of theft or vandalism.
The investor, Hanoi-based Tri Nam that specializes in high quality information-communications technology solutions, said in future it would add more time frame options, depending on actual demand as determined by the trial run.
Do Ba Dan, the company’s chairman, said the project aims to serve short-haul travel, connect bus and metro stops, as well as serve tourists. The first metro line in HCMC is expected to start operation within next year.
Users can return their bicycles to any Mobike station, he noted. Gia Minh @ VNExpress
In 2019, Vietnam’s former imperial capital Hue also piloted a public bicycle service that will provide hundreds of tourists with an option to ride bikes on its downtown streets.
Some 400 bikes will be provided in the inner-city areas and some 2,000 in suburban areas. The project is to be completed before the Hue Festival 2020 in April, which is one of the biggest tourism events in the country.
Visitors need to install an app on their smartphone to access the service by using QR codes to unlock the bikes as well as utilize GPS to locate them. The service will provide visitors an alternative way to travel along the Huong (Perfume) River in the town’s center and other local tourist spots.
The Vietnam’s ancient town of Hoi An in the central Quang Nam Province launched a pilot bicycle sharing program in 2019 to encourage residents and tourists to move from petrol power to pedal power.
Discovering Hue by bicycle is a new tourism trend favored by both domestic and foreign visitors, according to a survey conducted by the Hue People’s Committee. The new service provides them with more options in addition to electric buses or boat rides along the river.
It also aims to help reduce emissions from motor vehicles and create a green and smart image for the town, local authorities said.