Cycle around George Town at night

Participants leaving the Esplanade for a heritage night ride using LinkBike bicycles. — Photo: ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star

Participants leaving the Esplanade for a heritage night ride using LinkBike bicycles. — Photo: ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star

SOME 120 people had a fun-filled time cycling around George Town in Penang on LinkBike bicycles during a heritage night ride.

Frenchwoman Florence Fournier, 26, said it was a good way to see the city despite the traffic.

“It is a good idea to have bikes stationed around the heritage area as it will encourage lesser use of cars and make the place more pedestrian friendly.

“I will be making use of the facility as I will be here for another month or so,” said the traveller when met at the starting point of the heritage night ride at the Esplanade on Friday.

LinkBike is a bicycle-sharing system (BSS) which was launched in December last year.

It is a public-owned and privately managed model, with 90% of the RM1.85mil cost coming from the Penang Island City Council and the remaining 10% from private company Fast Rent Bike.

The night ride was to mark the accomplishment of the BSS which started with 60 bicycles in December and slated to have 250 bicycles in 25 stations in various parts of Penang island by next month.

Fast Rent Bike director Ken Yeoh said there were 120 bicycles in 12 stations.

Another participant was product manager Chan Cheow Seng, 63, who said he liked that the bicycles were available at various places in George Town and the charges to use them affordable.

“I like cycling as it is good exercise and at my age I want to keep fit.

“As long as cyclists follow the rules and cycle in the designated areas, it is a safe and healthy habit to cultivate,” said the casual cyclist.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was the guest-of-honour at the event, said the BSS was a means of public transportation which would provide users with point-to-point transportation for short distances.

“It will serve as a great alternate commute for the public to travel around the Unesco World Heritage City area. Since the launch of BSS comprising 60 bicycles, LinkBike has reached 3,422 ridership as of April 11.

“With the arrival of another 190 bicycles, it is now ready to serve more people 24 hours a day,” he said.

Lim also said a LinkBike personal membership card would be launched soon.

“With the card, you only need to scan it at the docking station, ride and return the bicycle.”

Currently to use one of the bicycles, one has to download the LinkBike apps from Google Play for Android users and scan the QR code to release the bicycle.

The charge is RM2 for a day pass where the user will get to enjoy every first 30 minutes of ride for free for the day.

If you keep your bike out for longer than 30 minutes at a time, then it’s an extra RM1 for each additional 60 minutes.

Thus, a person only needs to pay RM2 for the day pass if the rides are kept to within 30 minutes each before changing to another bicycle at another station.