Changwon City celebrated its 1,000th day of bicycle-sharing on July 18. Initiated on Oct. 22, 2008, with 20 terminals and 430 bicycles, the service has now grown to a massive 163 terminals and 3,530 communal bicycles to become a vital part of citizens’ lives.
◈ Over 90,000 members
Nubija, the public bicycle rental service, is now considered to have been an eye-opener for Korean bike-sharing programs that are now “positioned as an integral part of environmentally friendly transportation through continued growth and service reforms.”
From humble beginnings, Nubija has grown into a sizable transportation system. Over the past 1,000 days, there were 5,452,542 people using the service — nearly 5,500 a day. There were only 241 users a day in 2008, its first year, but that number grew to 6,118 last year and further to 9,165 a day this year. Membership dramatically increased as well, rising from 3,420 in 2008 to 30,189 last year. Current membership exceeds 90,000.
◈ ‘Environment protector,’ Nubija
Nubija has proven effective in preserving the environment. Over the past 1,000 days, the service operated a total distance of 36,751,610 kilometers about 875 times the circumference of the Earth. This distance traveled in personal automobiles would have produced 7,718 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 6,615 million won worth of oil.
Changwon intends to expand the service to 300 terminals and 7,000 bicycles by 2012 in an effort to increase bicycles’ share of total transportation from the current 9 percent to 20 percent by 2020. The bicycles in the service are also headed for upgrade with Smartphone docks. These new bicycles will have docks for Smartphones so that they may be used in navigation for riders. Bicycles will also be able to charge these phones with a self-charging generator that will produce electricity once the bicycle travels over 10 kilometers per hour. In the future, electric bicycles will be supplied with batteries charged with renewable energy that could be generated while riding downhill.
Changwon will hold the first Congress of the Global Alliance for Eco-mobility (GAE) at the Changwon Exhibition Convention Center (CECO) and Pullman Hotel Oct. 21-24. During the congress, city officials will discuss ways to prevent depletion of fossil fuels, atmospheric pollution and other problems caused by automobiles, in order to find alternative eco-friendly transportation means to solve these problems.