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YouBike financial report released after accusations of inappropriate subsidies

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Department of Transportation of the Taipei City Government (臺北市政府交通局) released the 2013 Financial Report of the YouBike system yesterday, following a report that accused the department of approving subsidies inappropriately.

In a news article released earlier yesterday, a reporter analyzed the system's current data to conclude that a single YouBike is usually rented for an average of 15 minutes per session by users, whereas the system only starts charging riders after the first 30 minutes and the government pays for the initial “free” time. The finding led the reporter to deduce that the department over-subsidizes by at least NT$5 per YouBike session.

In a press statement released in response to the article yesterday, the Department of Transportation stated that subsidies are granted after substantial reviews conducted in accordance with regulations. The price scheme for YouBike rentals was calculated in just this manner, and the department stands behind the “free” initial 30 minutes.

The department also released the 2013 financial report submitted by Giant Bicycles (捷安特), the operating company and supplier of the YouBike bicycles, in accordance with contractual obligations as stated within the Taipei Public Bicycle Rental System Construction, Operation and Management contract (臺北市公共自行車租賃系統建置營運及管理) to make clear that no wrongdoings could be found.

As stated in the report, the operating income for the entire system was NT$123.93 million in 2013, and following tax deductions, Giant received NT$10.21 million in net profit. Giant will also have to pay the city government NT$18.59 million in operating royalties.

Currently, the department states that improvements are still being performed on a regular basis and they welcome any suggestions. Of the 162 stations that have been planned, 158 have been completed and become operational as of January. The department also stated that cases of difficulty in returning a YouBike have decreased from an average of 110 cases per week in January, to 39 cases in the first week of April.

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