In Seoul, which is notorious for traffic congestion, the popularity of public bicycles used by commuters for short-distance transportation is growing, and city officials are under pressure to expand their bike-sharing system called "Seoul Bike".
The Seoul Bike service was launched in October 2015 in an effort to ease the city's traffic jam. Seoulites can rent a public bike for 1,000 won (0.8 US dollars) per hour at designated stations. The bike can be returned to other stations regardless of whereabouts.
Currently, about 11,600 Seoul Bikes are deployed in 11 districts of the capital congested with millions of daily commuters. In June this year, the service was used about 17,200 times a day.
"Seoul plans to increase the number of Seoul Bikes up to 200,000 and have its stations installed all over," Yoo Soo-jung, a Seoul Bike financial manager, told Aju News on Tuesday.
The website for the city's bike-sharing service is now filled with posts asking city officials to build more stations. "We try to visit every place suggested by citizens to assess whether the suggested spots are ideal for Seoul Bike stations," the official said.
"Citizens are very positive about our service. Some people use them to get to the places where buses and subways cannot reach," she said, adding the user compliance rate was far higher than expected.
Similar services exist in many countries including Japan, Australia and the United States. According to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health, public-bike services not only reduce traffic congestions but contributed to the health of users.
Park Sae-jin = email@example.com
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