CHINA> Regional
Free bike rentals on offer in Beijing
By He Bolin (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-21 07:56

A bicycle company is offering free rentals to Beijing's Maizidian community in the Chaoyang district to promote green transport in the capital.

People will be able to use 200 cycles, and two stands in the Chaoyang and Dongcheng districts, Maizidian community director Tang Jianming said last week.

"Regardless of whether they are from Beijing, other places in the country or even abroad, they can use the cycles so long as they produce their identity cards or passports," Tang said.

Once their identification documents have been verified, users will be given access cards to the cycles. At the end of the day the cycles must to returned to the two stands.

Users will also not be charged for damage to the cycles, Tang said.

There are plans to expand the service to cover the whole of Beijing in about 18 months' time, Li Weiwei, manager of Ibikemedia Company, provider of the cycles, said.

"The scheme is part of our efforts to help the community and improve awareness of the environment," Li said.

The Shanghai-based Ibikemedia has received 80 million yuan ($11.7 million) from a US sponsor. The cycles will carry advertisements.

The company, so far, has signed contracts with 89 hotels, six universities and two communities in Beijing.

David Geoff, a foreign student, said: "It will help people to realize the importance of improving the environment. I think it is a good idea."