Over the past days, many bicycles painted in white and navy blue have been seen on many inner streets in Hanoi. These bikes are among public bicycle and electric bike service, which are being launched by the Hanoi Municipal Department of Transport, and Tri Nam Group Joint Stock Company.
Customers can rent bikes at 79 stations across the six inner districts of Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Tay Ho, Hoan Kiem, and Thanh Xuan. All stations are located roughly a kilometre apart near the metro line, bus stops, parks, and tourist attractions.
People experience public bicycle service at the launch of the service in Hanoi on August 24.
A total of 500 normal bicycles and 500 electric ones are being operated in the first phase of the project.
People are required to install the TNGo app on their smartphone, register for an account, top up money, and use a magnetic card or smartphone to scan the QR code attached on the bike to unlock it.
The bike stations do not need custodians, and users can return the bike at any station.
In case the amount of money in their account is not enough, riders may continue their journey, and the rental fee will be calculated the next time they deposit money into the account.
The fees are priced at 5,000 VND (0.22 USD) per 30 minutes for normal bicycles and 10,000 VND (0.44 USD) for electric bikes. The price is considered affordable by many consumers.
For a long time, Hanoians have had difficulty accessing urban railways or buses due to lack of synchronous transport infrastructure. Many people have to walk quite a distance to get to the bus or train stations.
The launch of public bicycle sharing services has increased connectivity of the public transportation system by providing people with one more option regarding public transport and helping them shift their traveling habits to protect the environment.
This is clearly shown in the number of 16,000 accounts of TNGo app being opened within only one-week pilot implementation of the project. The figure continues to increase sharply since the project was official launched on August 24.
In addition to better public transport connections and benefit public transport users, the service also attracts many other customers who want to rent a bike to visit tourist sites and explore the city.
The bike-sharing model has previously been applied in other localities in Vietnam, such as Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Hai Phong, Hai Duong and Binh Dinh, earning great appreciation from the local people.
This requires local authorities and functional agencies to work out a further strategy in developing bicycles as a "green" vehicle.
It is necessary to strengthen popularisation of the benefits of cycling, especially for those who often travel in short distances.
Before motorbikes and cars became the preferred means of transportation, most Vietnamese people travelled by bicycle.
The revitalisation of cycling culture will contribute to diversifying public transport, limiting the number of private vehicles, reducing environmental pollution and increasing people's health.