The Kunming municipal government has experimented with green initiatives in the past. Such efforts have included huge re-greening campaigns and no-car days, the latter of which have sadly been discontinued. The newest endeavor, announced recently in all major metropolitan newspapers, involves putting some 45,000 public use bicycles on Spring City roads.
At project's end, a planned 2,500 bike depots will dot Kunming. Most of the planned "service spots" (服务网点) will be clustered along existing and under-construction subway lines, outside of the city's largest neighborhoods and near universities and tourist hotspots where rush hour traffic jams are most common.
Dubbed "The Last Kilometer" (最后一公里) by city managers, the program targets commuters who nearly get home via existing public transportation options, but may still need to walk a good distance. Details such as overall cost, what company will provide the bikes and the exact locations of the depots have yet to be released.
However, details regarding a few project benchmarks do exist. Between now and the end of 2017, the city will build 500 bike pick-up and drop-off points housing 10,000 bikes. Of those stops, 100 will be located in Kunming's sprawling southern Chenggong District (呈贡新区). Between March 2017 and December 2019, an additional 4,000 bike depots are planned for areas along Metro Lines 3 and 6, as well as in the previously mentioned traffic bottlenecks.
Once in place, bikes will be available to use for those with a charged bus or Metro card that has previously been officially linked to a Chinese ID card. Current plans state bikes are free to use for the first hour, with each additional 30-minute period costing 0.5 yuan. A rental period ends when a rider returns their borrowed bike to any of the other depots. Fees for a single day will not run more than 15 yuan, according to media reports.
The bike initiative is part of a broader five-year plan to create a new "transportation network" in Kunming to alleviate traffic congestion. Under the strategy, priority will be given to subways, buses, taxis and bikes in that order, with cars receiving the lowest importance in future city planning.
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