Seoul, South Korea recently announced transportation subsidies for bicycle commuters, The Korea Times reports. The City also announced plans to repair abandoned bicycles and rent them at no charge to commuters in order to encourage bicycle use.
The article reports that the Seoul Metropolitan Government has been in the process of installing 88.3 kilometers (54.9 miles) of bicycle lanes over the past two years and improving bike lane management systems. The subsidies and free bike rentals come at a time when commuters have been inconvenienced due to the duration of the construction.
The effort is in part to promote public transit use. Bicycle commuters are encouraged to ride their bikes to subway stations, park at designated kiosks and receive their subsidies upon retrieving their bikes by scanning traffic cards.
Seoul has been undergoing a transformation recently to become a pedestrian- and bike-friendly city. The government allocated ₩1.83 trillion ($1.6 billion) to renovate and build transportation infrastructure, like public buses and bicycle lanes.
The city is also preparing to launch a pilot program in August 2011 that allows commuters to rent bicycles using credit cards, in an effort to gauge rental volume and revenue through a program called The Hangang Bicycle Rental System, Capital News explains. Though the system would ease rentals for commuters and leisure riders alike, the city clarifies that the program is meant for recreational activity and tourism purposes.