The Department of Transport in the central city of Da Nang is preparing to pilot a bicycle rental service in the city center.

Initially, around 30-40 spots in the central districts of Hai Chau, Son Tra, and Ngu Hanh Son will be selected for the service. The department will prioritize locations along main streets and near bus stops, to connect people with public transport, as well as tourist sites and other busy areas. Each will have from five to ten bikes.

The public bike service will be operated and managed by technology. To use the service, the bike rental app must be installed and a QR code scanned to unlock the bike. They will be charged based on time, with three options - by the hour, day, or month. Payment can be made via an e-wallet or the QR code on the app, or by cash at service stations at hotels, restaurants, and cafés.

Users can return the bikes to the stations or to any permitted locations for bike parking. If they return it elsewhere, they will be subject to a fee for the collection of the bike.

Da Nang has experienced heavy traffic congestion in recent years, resulting from rapid urbanization and a rise in private vehicles, according to the department. Average annual growth in cars is 12 per cent and 10.5 per cent for motorbikes. It is forecast that the city’s traffic congestion will become more serious after 2020 if it does not adopt appropriate solutions.

In the circumstances, the pilot public bike service is expected to provide a cheap and convenient transport option that helps people connect with public transport like buses. It will encourage people to use public transport more often and reduce private vehicle use, according to the department.

The environmentally-friendly service will therefore help to reduce traffic congestion in the city center and curb pollution from gas emissions. It also encourages healthy activities - a global trend in tourist cities around the world - contributing to building Da Nang’s beautiful image and attracting more tourists and promoting local tourism.

Earlier this month, Da Nang’s neighbor, Hoi An ancient town, also launched a pilot bicycle sharing program, aiming at encouraging residents to move from petrol power to pedal power as an environmentally-friendly transport solution and to preserve heritage and tourist sites in the town and contribute to its efforts to build a green tourism site and protect the environment.