Eastern city Wonju to test-operate electric bicycle rental service

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 20, 2023, 17:16 Updated : March 20, 2023, 17:16

[Courtesy of Wonju City]

SEOUL -- The test operation of electric bicycle rental service will begin in Wonju some 86.8 kilometers (53.9 miles) east of Seoul. In South Korea, public bicycle rental service has steadily gained popularity among urbanites who wish to travel short distances of a few kilometers instead of using crowded buses or subway trains.
One of the most well-known bike-sharing or bike rental services in South Korea is Seoul Bike, also known as "Ttareungi", run by Seoul City. As of January 2023, there were some 43,500 Seoul Bikes in the capital city. The cumulative number of rental service members has exceeded 3.7 million. Data released by Seoul showed that the public rental service was used more than 100 million times as of April 25, 2022.
The adoption of electric bicycles (e-bikes) known for their fast speed compared to regular bicycles has also gained momentum. Due to Seoul Bikes' growing popularity, Seoul demonstrated 1,000 e-bikes in 2019. Kakao Mobility, the mobility wing of South Korea's internet service giant Kakao, has test-operated e-bikes in Cheongju some 109 kilometers south of Seoul and the western port city of Incheon. As of October 2021, the company operated more than 10,000 e-bikes nationwide.
Wonju said in a statement on March 20 that anyone aged 13 and older can rent the e-bikes in a college town and a train station located in the central area. Users can rent the bikes through a smartphone app called "E-wheelro." The bike can be easily rented just through QR code-based verification method. During the test-operation period in March, members will be allowed to ride e-bikes for 60 minutes every day. Starting in April, 1,000 won ($0.76) will be charged per 15 minutes, and 100 won every minute afterward. 
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