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VOA慢速英语:在台北随着越来越多的人骑自行车出行,解决一些问题的同时引起了新问题的产生

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In Taipei, Bikes Solve Some Problems, Create New Ones

Hello, and welcome to As It Is from VOA LearningEnglish. I’m June Simms.

Today on the program, a growing number of people inWashington are riding bicycles to work. And they aresaving a lot of money by doing it

“When a person makes a change from only using a carto using a bike, they are saving anywhere between 8 or $9,000 a year.”

More and more people in Taipei, Taiwan are also ridingbicycles to work. But that is causing its own problems, as Jim Tedder reports.

Bicycles Solving Some Problems in Taipei, Creating Others

The city of Taipei, Taiwan is offering its 2.6 million people a fast, low-cost wayto travel around the city. City officials have launched a bicycle rental programcalled YouBike. Many Taiwanese are now using bicycles to go to work andother places. But the growing popularity of the program has led to new trafficproblems.

Five years ago, motor scooters competed with taxis and buses for space onTaipei’s narrow streets. Then the city supported a plan to start loaningbicycles to people who pay for their temporary use. Taipei followed theexamples of places like Kyoto, Japan; the Chinese city of Hangzhou; andDaejeon in South Korea.

Since then, Taipei has loaned bicycles 11 million times, mostly during the pastyear. Bikers do not pay for the first half-hour of use. Each 30 minutes afterthat costs less than half of an American dollar.

Hsu Tsai-tung is a 37-year-old office worker. She rides a rented bicycle toparks, a university and her workplace.

She says one good thing about renting is that the first 30 minutes are free. And, she says biking is good because she does not move around much in heroffice job during the day. Waiting for a bus would mean spending time, whichshe saves by riding a bike. She calls biking a natural choice.

Ms. Hsu is not alone. Using the one-speed bicycles works well for manyTaiwanese. The bikes can be left at any of more than 100 rental stations. The vehicles could also ease air pollution, which is a health problem in manyAsian cities.

In China, for example, the city of Shanghai reported record pollution levels inDecember. The levels were nearly 20 times above the level considered safeby the World Health Organization.

Shen Shu-hung is with Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency. He wantsto know whether bikes have reduced Taipei’s pollution. Bad air has beenfound to endanger commuters and people living on low building floors.

Mr. Shen says Taiwan is studying whether the rental program has reduced airpollution. He is not discussing its effectiveness at present, in case the studyfinds that bike renters walked or rode public transportation in the past.

And, it appears that the 5,350 bikes on the streets of Taipei today have begunto cause new problems for city traffic. People who bike through the streetshave to worry about cars making illegal sudden stops and fast right turns.

Some bikers have stopped riding on the streets and started riding their bikeson sidewalks. But this has angered or frightened many walkers.

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People cycle their bicycles at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei December 31, 2011.

Huang Huang-chia works at the Taipei Department ofTransportation. He says no one single kind of incidenthas happened repeatedly. But he says riders need to be better educated.

He says the city’s way of dealing with such incidentswill be to educate people about every kind of bicyclesafety needed in Taipei.

Taipei plans to complete its program with a total of 162rental stations by the end of this year.

I’m Jim Tedder.

You are listening to As It Is, from VOA Learning English.

Now, back to June Simms for a report on the growing number of people usingbicycles to get to work in Washington, DC.

Bicycling to Work in Washington, DC Grows in Popularity

Traffic problems are an everyday concern in many cities, includingWashington, DC. A growing number of Washingtonians are turning tobicycles to get to and from work. In fact, the number of commuters who usebicycles has doubled in the city since 2007.

Loren Copsey recently opened a store called The Daily Rider in NorthwestWashington. It targets people who use their bikes for transportation, not justfor exercise and fun.

“They put a lot of wear on their bikes and they ride much different bikes thanthe typical sport rider.”

Ralph Buehler teaches urban planning at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute andState University, popularly known as Virginia Tech. He has written a bookabout urban biking, called “City Cycling.” He says there is a reason urban bikeriding is now becoming more popular.

“Over the last 60 to 70 years, cities in the U.S. have been adapted to theautomobile.”

“...to go about any place we want to go.”

“Most cities took advantage of the money coming for the interstate highwaysystem, from the federal government, starting in 1956. There was a 90percent federal match so the cities only had to put up 10%. It was verytempting.”

In the years after World War Two, many Americans moved to suburbancommunities, just outside major cities. They decided to travel great distancesto and from work in exchange for a home in the suburbs. Their cars becamea symbol of freedom.

But today, many people believe they can save money by living in the city.

Greg Billing is with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

“When a person makes a change from only using a car to using a bike, theyare saving anywhere between 8 or $9,000 a year.”

Greg Billing says store owners are also paying attention. His group puts racksfor bicycles in front of businesses, including the Studio Theatre, where ScottSanger works.

“We actually have four theaters and on any given night, whenever we have aperformance, these racks are taken.”

“If you’re a coffee shop or if you’re a flower shop on their route, they are morelikely to jump into that store.”

“For a business owner, sometimes they may look at a cyclist and see anaverage purchase that’s lower than somebody coming in a different mode. But what they are not maybe seeing is that that person is coming back moreand more frequently.”

Ralph Buehler says governments save money when people use bicycles.

“Building bicycling facilities is much cheaper than building and maintainingroad facilities or public transport.”

The Department of Transportation spent five million dollars over two yearsputting in place a bike-rental system called Capital BikeShare. Today, thesystem has 20,000 members who share 1,660 bicycles.

Washington, DC has also taken steps to protect bike riders. It approved asafe passing law and created areas on the road between cars and bikes.

The United States Census Bureau says four percent of the city’s workers rideto work by bike. The only city on the East Coast with more bike commuters isNew York.

And that’s our program for today. Thank you for spending some of your timewith us.

We present a new As It Is every day at 0030 hours Universal Time. MarioRitter will be here tomorrow with another As It Is.

I’m June Simms reporting from VOA Learning English headquarters inWashington.

Don’t forget to listen to VOA world news at the beginning of every hourUniversal Time.


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