The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of YouBike

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of YouBike

Public transportation in Taiwan is generally very easy, so I was surprised many years ago to learn that signing up for YouBike might not be be.

“It’s better if I do it for you,” my friend insisted without explanation, with a tense insistence, as if I might not even be able to do it myself, even if I wanted to. I gave him the information he asked for without questioning anything at all, and haven’t hought about it much since then.

However, a reader recently asked me to explain how to rent a YouBike in Taipei, which inspired me to delve into the topic more deeply. Continue reading to learn whether my friend was just being dramatic all those years ago, or whether setting up your EasyCard for YouBike actually is a giant pain in the ass.

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YouBike is Easy—Once You Get Your Account Set Up

As is the case with riding the MRT (and other transportation in the city more broadly), Taipei bike share is a tap-on, tap-off things. Well, once you set up your account that is. In fact, part of the reason I hadn’t yet created a post on the topic until I started writing this one is that YouBike had become so automatic for me. I’d honestly put the experience configuring my card for it out of my mind.

Actually, that’s not true—I did have to sign up for YouBike a second time. Specifically in the summer of 2020, when the trusty EasyCard I’d had since moving to Taipei in mid-2019 finally wore out. Although the kind MRT attendant was able to transfer my balance over, a new card number meant that I had to re-enroll for YouBike. Here’s how I did it—and how you can, too.

How to Use YouBike, Step-by-Step

Get an EasyCard

No matter what, you need an EasyCard in order to use YouBike. Of course, I would argue you shouldn’t travel in Taiwan at all without an EasyCard (at least not if you want your trip to be easy, ha), so this is kind of a no-brainer anyway. Make sure you have your card with you when you go to register.

(And maybe a Taiwan SIM)

Unlike was the case for the Taiwan bike share of days past, you don’t absolutely have to have a Taiwanese phone number in order to rent a YouBike. If you don’t, however, then you will have to register using a credit card—and do so over and over again, for each individual rental. Here’s how to get a SIM card in Taiwan.

Download the YouBike 2.0 app

If you do have a Taiwanese phone number, then after downloading YouBike 2.0 from your phone’s app store, tap “Sign Up” and follow the prompts. As I explained in the section before, on the other hand, you’ll need to tap “Single Rental” if you plan to register without a phone number—and do that every single time.

Find your nearest YouBike Station

Now, you’re ready to rent a bike in Taipei (or in most other cities in Taiwan, these days). Assuming you’ve correctly completed your registration, you can search “YouBike” in Google Maps, then when you find the bike you want, tap your EasyCard on the reader to unlock and take it.

Return it—carefully

YouBike works pretty well, but there are exceptions to this rule. Namely, you can to insert the bike tire completely into the stand before returning it. Otherwise, when you tap your EasyCard on the reader to end the rental, it won’t end—and you will continue getting charged, perhaps indefinitely.

Alternatives to YouBike Around Taiwan

YouBike is only available in Taipei, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get around in other destinations by bike:

  • Thanks to YouBike 2.0 technology, the system has become seamlessly integrated with bikeshare networks in Kaohsiung and Tainan, among other cities.
  • While Taichung once used its own bikeshare system called iBike, this was always accessible to registered YouBike users. Plus, it appears to now be part of YouBike 2.0 officially.
  • In more rural areas, like Sun Moon Lake, it’s easy to rent a bike for a day.
  • Here are in other places like Kenting National Park, many accommodations offer rental bikes for people staying there.
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Other FAQ About Renting YouBike in Taipei

Can tourists use YouBike in Taiwan?

Tourists can use YouBike, although they will need to have EasyCards. Moreover, even once you have an EasyCard, there is a secondary registration process that’s required. However, if you’ve read this post, you should be good to go.

How to use a UBike in Taiwan?

The first step to using YouBike (also known as UBike, incorrectly) in Taiwan is to get yourself an EasyCard. However, this is not the last step. You will need to complete an additional registration process in order to be able to use the YouBike system.

How much does it cost to rent a bike in Taiwan?

Renting a bike in Taiwan is extremely affordable, at least when done through the YouBike system. It is comparable to using the Taipei MRT in terms of money spent per minute or hour used. Bikes rented through actual bike shops will be more expensive.

The Bottom Line

After reading this post, you should have a better grasp of how to rent a YouBike in Taipei. It isn’t impossible, or nearly as difficult as my friend made it seem many years ago. On the other hand, if you do have a local who can assist you (even if that local is simply the owner of your Airbnb, or the concierge at your hotel), this could make your life a great deal easier. Speaking of an easier life, the great news is that once you have YouBike set up, getting around in Taipei (and other cities in Taiwan) will become a great deal simpler. Need even more assistance making your Taiwan trip happen? Consider hiring me to plan it!


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