Public Bicycle Sharing Schemes in Taiwan

As Taiwanese become more health-conscious cycling is enjoying a major revival, particularly as a recreational activity, with bike paths being opened all over the country. It's now possible to ride from Xindian (mountains in the south) to Tamsui (the north coast) along a bike path virtually all the way. Cycling around Taiwan is becomming increasingly popular for locals and international visitors, and again more and more coastal bikeways are being opened, with talk that one day they will encircle the whole island.

Youbikes outside Taipei 101

When it comes to commuting, however, Taipei has a long way to go. Lack of footpaths for walking also mean lack of footpaths for cyclists, and also like walking cycling on the road is dangerous and unpleasant. However perhaps the biggest problem is a lack of secure, legal cycle parking spots, with this new parking lot in Tamsui a notable exception. Bike theft is a huge problem, so most people keep an old bike for commuting (or use Youbike) and leave their better bikes at home for weekend excursions.

 Youbike (Taipei) 

Youbikes outside Gong Guan Station (one of the busiest) at 5PM and 6PM. Empty racks like this are becoming less and less common.

Youbike is an excellent public bicycle sharing system run by the Taipei City Government and Giant Bicycles, and it's great for short hops around the city, especially one-way. At 10NT per half hour with the first half hour free (for residents) it's extremely popular, and at first it was a victim of its own success, with docks frequently running out of bikes or available parking spaces, however these problems have mostly been solved by transporting extra bikes to the busiest stations and releasing them at peak times. If a user arrives at a dock and finds it full they can register at the kiosk for another 30 minutes free to get to the next dock with an available parking spot.

Youbike staff cart around thousands of bicycles each day, and lock them together at busy locations ready for release to the docks at peak times.

Other Cities 

Changhua also has Youbike scheme, and Taichung has a system called ibike. Bikes can be exchanged between them. Kaohsiung has its own equivalent called C-Bike.


There are several Android apps which help with finding Youbike docks and checking how many bikes or apartments are available suitable for English speakers. The newest app, Bikiker, is the most comprehensive, and the creator is developing some cool features such as reporting damaged bikes. The simpler Bikefriend shows (using Google Maps) the locations of bike stands and updates how many bikes and empty racks are available. Both are free and advertisement free, and Bikefriend is also open-source and covers other cities' bicycle sharing schemes. Taipei Youbike Offline is a simple but very effective app which shows the locations of Youbike stations in the excellent Openstreetmaps. Of course it can't give status updates without a data connection, but if you're in Taiwan without data it's perfectly usable, and if you arrive somewhere and can't find a bike or parking space, just use the kiosk to find the nearest one available. It's also advertisement free. The best option for iOS (iPhones or iPads) is Ubike Taipei, but it's restricted to Taipei City (so doesn't work for Tamsui, Yingge, Sansia etc).

Less Useful

EZ Taiwan Youbike is similar to Bikefriend, but I find the advertisements annoying and it doesn't cover other cities. The offical U-Bike app does not have an English interface.

Online Map of Youbike Stations

A complete map of stations (similar to what's visible on the App) can be found here.


A common criticism is that the resources going into these schemes could be better spent encouraging commuters to ride and maintain their own bikes, by introducing city cycle lanes and secure parking facilities (as in Japan). However in reality the government is doing both as quickly as possible, and with such a high population density in major cities, and so little space available to store bikes, bike sharing may in fact be the most efficient.

Get Riding

It's possible to rent a Youbike with a foreign credit card or a local cellphone number (but without the first half hour free). I recommend jumping on one for a ride between nearby spots, or a ride along the Xindian River Cycle Path (near Bitan).

  1. The Bikefriend app looks good, but you might mention the (oddly-named) Bikerker app, which has a few more features: a list of rental stations ordered by walking distance, the option to get directions to a station, and a Google map or Street View of the station. However Bikerker only offers info about Taipei area Youbikes.

    On iOS the UBike app is ok but it is oddly restricted to stations with Taipei city limits, so no New Taipei City stations.

  2. Thanks Kai! I'll update it for both of these.