[00:00.00]Millions of people in cities across Asia are using phone apps to borrow bicycles for local travel.
[00:08.93]This kind of technology is made for people who want to leave cars and motorcycles at home, and avoid spending money on a taxi service.
[00:20.64]The Reuters news agency reports that bicycle sharing has been rising in popularity in places like Beijing, Taipei and Singapore.
[00:32.53]China’s Ministry of Transport reports that the two-year bike-sharing trend has put over 16 million bikes in China alone.
[00:43.31]It adds that more than 100 million Chinese have registered for bike-sharing.
[00:50.92]That has reduced car use and demand for gasoline.
[00:56.17]Economists have predicted that demand for fuel will likely stop rising by the year 2025.
[01:04.65]“I often use bike-sharing services because it’s very convenient,” said 36-year-old Wei Zhang, who uses a shared bike several times a week to go to work.
[01:18.75]“I can find it anywhere and will not worry about losing the bike,” the Beijing native added.
[01:26.00]No one knows the exact number of bicycles on China’s streets or how much bike-sharing has affected fuel demand.
[01:37.17]But the government, oil companies and a study by Reuters all found that fewer people are using cars.
[01:46.92]“Bike-sharing has been crazy since late last year,” said Harry Liu, who works as an advisor for IHS Market.
[01:57.42]He added that more people are using public transportation because they know they can finish their trip with a shared bicycle.
[02:08.81]Even before the popularity of bike-sharing, observers were saying that the rising use of electric cars and better fuel efficiency meant an end for gasoline’s big growth story.
[02:24.94]China’s gasoline demand growth is expected to slow to nearly 4 percent this year, compared with 6.5 percent growth last year.
[02:38.70]That information comes from Sri Paravaikkarasu, head of East of Suez oil at Facts Global Energy.
[02:49.52]Last month, a Chinese bike-sharing start-up company opened offices in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Washington, D.C.
[03:01.00]The company, called Mobike, was launched in April 2016.
[03:07.56]Another Chinese company, Ofo, provides a similar service.
[03:13.14]The two businesses have received more than $2 billion in private investment.
[03:20.37]Mobike has 7 million bicycles worldwide.
[03:26.02]Ofo has more than 10 million, and plans to increase the number to 20 million in the next three months.
[03:35.15]In Taiwan, the government supports a bike-sharing plan.
[03:40.55]Officials hope to have 12 percent of commuters using bicycles in trips to work by 2020.
[03:49.72]Five percent of commuters use bicycles now.
[03:53.13]The Taipei city government hopes to have every citizen just 10 minutes from a bike by 2018.
[04:03.47]Harry Liu of IHS said that bike-sharing could change the way people think about mobility and could change the transportation business.
[04:15.58]I’m Susan Shand.