Kyoto Sightseeing Using Share CycleUnlocking and Fee Settlement via Smartphone
A share cycle service, in which multiple people use bicycles utilizing IT, has been started by companies in Tokyo and elsewhere from June 1 in Kyoto City. This service is characterized by the unlocking of bicycles and fee settlement via smartphone, as well as grasping the number of bicycles available in bicycle parking lots via global positioning system (GPS). Kyoto is the second city in which the service has started, following Tokyo. It has started with approximately 100 bicycles and plans to increase the number of bicycles to 500 within the year.
The service is managed by Tokyo-based Ocean Blue Smart Co., Ltd., which has developed a share-cycle business in Tokyo, Tokyo-based Daiwa House Parking Co., Ltd., a parking company, and Keihan Electric Railway Co., Ltd. Specialized bicycles carrying electric keys with a GPS function and a three-stage gearshift are provided.
Users download the special app "PiPPA" to their smartphones, register as members, and buy electronic money for fee settlement. At dedicated bicycle parking lots called "ports," users read the QR code on a bicycle to unlock it, then take it for a ride. Later, users can return bicycles, even to other ports in the city. When users lock bicycles, the fee is automatically adjusted from their accounts at the rate of 108 yen per 30 minutes.
A total 22 ports are located in parking lots, the areas surrounding Demachiyanagi, Jingu-marutamachi, Sanjo and Shichijo Stations of the Keihan Railway, hotels and cafes in the city. The number of ports will be increased to 50 within the year.
A similar service was begun by another company in Otsu City in April. Furthermore, a leading Chinese g share-cycle company has plans to advance into 20 cities by the end of this year, starting with Tokyo in June. The government has stated a numerical target of increasing the number of bicycle parking lots for share cycle services to 1,700, twice the existing amount, by fiscal 2020.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)