Ubike is a bike sharing program in Taipei that is extremely popular. You simply tap your easy card to rent a bike and put it back in a stall and tap your card to return it. It’s a simple system that works well, is cheap and popular. A bike sharing service originally from Singapore called O Bike has come to Hualien and the rest of Taiwan
On Monday morning I noticed similar looking bikes here in Hualien. I was too tired and did not think to get pictures in daylight. Taking the six am train does strange things to your sense of judgment. A coworker claimed that something like the Ubike program was coming to Hualien so I was off to investigate in the dark. The bikes do not attach to a station and instead have an internal lock.
O bike originated in Singapore but just came to Taiwan. To rent a bike you need to download the app, available here at the website. After creating an account you need to load money onto it. It requires a deposit and charges you by the amount of time you have rented it. I was told deposit is 900 NT, and you are charged 2NT for every 15 minutes.
I have not created an account but the process seems simple enough. You reserve a bike using the in-app map, you then scan the QR code to check it out and lock it in a public place to return it.
The bikes seem good enough. They have decent tires on them and are not too heavy. The seat adjusts up high enough for most westerners and low enough for most locals. There is only one gear so these bikes are best for riding around town and in flat areas. According to the website, O bike will be around many cities in Taiwan. On the in-app map, I can only see the ones located around me. O bike could offer a convenient way for travelers to rent bicycles in the cities around Taiwan. We will have to wait and see how O bike is received.
This article has been and will be continued to be updated over the next few days as I find out more about this program.