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New public bike service gets warm welcome in Saigon

By Son Nam, Maison de Bil   December 17, 2021 | 12:46 am PT
Many Saigonese headed downtown to test out the city's new public bicycle sharing service.
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Ho Chi Minh City recently kicked of the public bicycle service, putting 43downtownstations into operation Thursday.
They are located near bus stations, parks and tourist attractions. Each station spans 10-15 square meters and is capable of hosting up to 20 bikes.

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At the station on Le Loi Street, a staff member instructs people on how to download and install the free TNGO app on their smartphone. After that, they can make a deposit and rent a bike.
The cost to rent one is VND5,000 (22 cents) for 30 minutes, and VND10,000 for an hour.

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The bicycles utilize GPS, smart locks and Bluetooth.
On the app, users can easily find the nearest station to return their bikes after a trip.

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Truong (R) and An said after learning about the new public bike sharing service, they wanted to come try it out.
"We have loaded VND100,000ontoour accounts and plan to come here every afternoon to cycle around the city and enjoy the view,"' Truong said.

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Tuong, from District 1, said: "With this service, people can rent a bike to travel around, this method helps limit private vehicles in the downtown area to ease congestion and protect the environment. I think the rental price of VND10,000 per hour is reasonable and believe many people will use it."

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Ngoc (R) and Trinh said the bikes are light and easy to use, while their rental price is also reasonable.
"The stations are all located at very convenient locations, making it easy for people to stop and explore the famous tourist attractions of District 1 like its museums, Bach Dang Wharf, and shopping malls, etc.," Ngoc said.

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Like many Vietnamese, some foreigners also rented a bike to explore the city.
Johnny, a Taiwanese working in District 1, said: "Taiwan also has a public bicycle service, but the price is almost double that of Vietnam. I hope HCMC can widely deploy the model throughout the city so it will offer a safe means of transportation."

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Nam was excited when his mother brought him here to experience the service.
However, to ensure safety, the boy's mother said she only let him ride along Nguyen Hue pedestrian street.

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However, there were also customers who said they had difficulty depositing money into their accounts because they don’t have an internet banking account.
'We've received some feedback on this and recommend users open at least one online bank account. After that, people can download our app, sign up in just a few steps and use the rental service immediately,' said a representative on Le Loi Street.

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Thuong took a photo of her child and husband riding around Le Loi Street on their rented bikes.

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More price ranges would become available in future, while bikes can initially be rented for free for the first 15 minutes as a way to attract customers.

 
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