More than 100,000 people have registered to use Hanoi's public bicycle-sharing service, and around 135,000 rides have been made after two months.
Hanoi launched the service on Aug. 24, with 1,000 bikes, including 500 electric ones, at 79 stations spaced a kilometer apart near tourist sites as well as bus and metro stations.
People ride public bicycles in Hanoi in August 2023.
According to investor and operator Tri Nam Group JSC, the service has so far attracted 100,000 users who completed 135,000 rides that measured 840,000 km in total.
Hanoi rolled out the service after Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong and Da Nang, but the number of users in the capital city now accounts for over half of the total.
The service in the other three cities is also offered by Tri Nam. In all, there are over 2,500 bikes available in total.
A regular user, Tran Luong Phuong, said she has switched completely from driving her private motorbike to using the bicycle-sharing service.
Phuong, who lives in Dong Da District, said both her home and workplace are just around a five-minute walk from a bike station and therefore, it is convenient for her to use the service.
"I only drive my motorbike to work in urgent cases," she said.
Having completed 60 km of the ride, Nguyen Huu Bao in Cau Giay District said every weekend when he wants to stroll the Old Quarter in the city's downtown, he would drive a motorbike to a mall not far from his home, park it there and walk to the nearest bike station, where he would register for a bike and ride all the way to the Old Quarter.
"Using the bike allows me to save the travel cost from my house to the Old Quarter and at the same time, it is quite an interesting experience to slowly observe the city on the weekend," Bao said.
Both Phuong and Bao said that while the bicycles work quite well, the shock absorbers are quite stiff. Other users suggested that more bikes should be arranged at stations near tourism areas to keep up with the high demand. They also said children under 1.3 m tall cannot use the bikes.
Do Ba Quan, a representative of Tri Nam, said "the number of bikes in Hanoi is currently below the actual demand, but we're making plans to add more bikes."
He said people mostly use the service from 6-9 a.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m. and many use it on routes connecting Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line, currently the only operational metro in Vietnam.
The bikes are equipped with smart locks, GPS and Bluetooth, among other functions.
The hire cost is VND5,000 (US$0.21) for 30 minutes for normal bikes and VND10,000 for electric bikes. Users can return the vehicle at any station.