Taipei reverses expat ban on YouBike rentals

Published:  19 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, China, Hong Kong
Following an expat outcry after renting bikes was banned, Taipei is now backtracking and reversing its decision.

The decision early this week to ban expats in Taipei from the hugely popular YouBike bike-renting scheme caused a massive online protest and a swift backtrack by the city’s government. The new ruling required the provision of an ID number, unavailable to expatriates and the root cause of accusations of discrimination against the city’s large expat community, but the decision has now been reversed after the public outcry showed no signs of ending.

In order to enable expatriates to rent the bikes, a field on the application page will be inserted and will request foreign users to input their Alien Resident Certificate numbers, thus allowing them to continue using their EasyCards to rent the bikes. The new field will be in use by next week at the latest, much to the relief of the expats and tourists who found them a lifeline against the city’s crowded roads and public transportation.

Taiwan and its capital Taipei are becoming increasingly popular both for expatriates and tourists, a fact which might well have occurred to the city’s mayor when he was told of expats’ reactions to the ban. According to local media, he told the transportation department to ‘fix it tonight’, also ordering the department head to contact him first thing in the morning if a fix hadn’t been possible. Another reason for the swift turnaround might well be that Taiwan is targeting Hong Kong’s position as best in Asia for business, hoping to take its place should the protests be never-ending or, worse still, result in a Chinese military takeover.
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