How to Rent a YouBike in Taiwan (with or without SIM/EasyCard)

A row of YouBikes in Taipei parked at a docking station

YouBike / Ubike (official site) is Taiwan’s most popular bike sharing system, in a country that is known for its bike obsession. It started out as the Taipei Bike Sharing System but gradually spread throughout the country, replacing other local ones.

YouBikes are made by Taiwan’s own Giant Bicycles, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer. First launched in 2009, the orange and yellow bikes soon became an icon of the city. In 2020, these were replaced with the white and yellow YouBike 2.0, with a new app and easier rental process.

With over 5000 Youbike stations and 600 million total rentals, hiring a YouBike is an essential Taiwan experience. However, there are many things to know about renting a YouBike, including how to hire a Youbike with or without a local phone number (see my Taiwan SIM guide) and EasyCard (order EasyCard / see my EasyCard guide) or iPass.

Which Cities Have YouBike in Taiwan?

Nic Kembel wearing shorts and tank top, riding a yellow and orange uBike along a riverside cycling parth, with buildings across the river
That’s me riding a YouBike 1.0 in a Taipei riverside park

The following cities and counties in Taiwan now have YouBike 2.0. Youbike 1.0 is being totally phased out but you might still see a few around.

Notably, there are no YouBikes in Keelung, Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung.

Here are some other apps I recommend for traveling in Taiwan.

How Can I Find a YouBike Station?

A row of yellow and white YouBikes parked on a sidewalk, with pedestrians walking in the distance
A YouBike docking station at the base of Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan)

Finding an available YouBike is super easy. Often you will just run into them on the street or outside of MRT stations. You can also search “YouBike” on GoogleMaps.

Here’s a website map of rental stations (green = available bikes, orange = unavailable, and red means the station is full so you can’t return a bike there).

You’ll find the same map inside the Youbike 2.0 app. You’ll need to turn on “Allow Location Access” in the app settings for the map to work.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent?

A yellow and orange ubike parked on a pedestrian bridge over a river, with a large red arch
On Rainbow Bridge (near Raohe Night Market)

YouBikes are very cheap to rent, so you don’t even really have to think about it. You can rent a YouBike for a full hour for a similar price to one short MRT ride.

If you’re using EasyCard, you will need to have a positive balance (anything above zero) on your card. Even a balance of TWD 1 would work. Your EasyCard will simply go into the negatives when you’re finished, then you’ll have to top it up before using it again.

The price of renting YouBike in Taipei City and most other cities is as follows:

  • First 4 hours: TWD 10 per 30 minutes (minimum charge is TWD 10 if you ride less than 30 minutes)
  • 4 to 8 hours: TWD 20 per 30 minutes
  • Over 8 hours: TWD 40 per 30 miutes

As you can see, the price goes up quite a bit for longer rentals, so it always makes sense to break up longer journeys if you can.

Nick Kembel riding a YouBike through a tunnel made of white metal bars with bushes growing on them
Cycling in Fine Arts Park, Taipei

For Taipei, New Taiepi City, and Taoyuan, the price is the same if you rent with a registered EasyCard or if you do a one-time rental with credit card.

However, in Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung, the one-time rental price is different, as follows:

  • Up to 2 hours: TWD 20 per 30 minutes (minimum charge TWD 20 for rides under 30 minutes)
  • More than 2 hours: TWD 40 per 30 minutes

How to Rent a UBike

Close up of some ads on the yellow tire cover of a uBike
Branded uBikes

In short, to rent a Youbike, you’ll need to:

  1. Download the YouBike 2.0 app
  2. Register your EasyCard of iPass on the app using a Taiwan phone number (SIM card needed)
  3. Swipe your EasyCard to borrow bikes from any YouBike Station.

If you don’t have a local phone number, you can still rent a bike using a credit card on the app. I’ll cover how to do this in Step 2b below.

When you return the bike to any YouBike station, the fee will be deducted from your EasyCard/iPass or charged to your credit card. The fee is based on the usage time and usually starts at TWD 10 per 30 minutes.

This is just a simple summary – now I’ll cover each of the above points in more detail.

Step 1: Download the YouBike 2.0 App

Screenshot of the starting page of the YouBike 2.0 app, showing a white and yellow YouBike docked at a station and words "Welcome to YouBike 2.0"
YouBike 2.0 app

Download the YouBike 2.0 app here for Android or here for Apple.

You can do this before you arrive in Taiwan or after arriving in Taiwan. But I suggest that you don’t proceed to the following steps until you are in Taiwan and ready to rent a YouBike.

Step 2a: Register an Account and EasyCard (with Taiwan phone number)

If you have a Taiwan phone number (i.e. you got a SIM card for Taiwan), you can register an account in the app.

Note: if you got an eSIM for Taiwan, you won’t be able to do this because eSIMS don’t come with a local phone number. If you don’t have a Taiwan SIM card or you are using an eSIM, please skip to section 2b below.

After you download the app, swipe right through the introductory pages (see above screenshot). Next, you will be taken to the main map screen (see below). You may need to allow the app to access your location in order for this map to work.

Screenshot of a map of Taipei with an orange scan button at the bottom
Map screen

Click on the hamburger menu at the top left and select “Login/Register”. Then choose “Sign Up” at the bottom” (see below screenshot).

On the next page, scroll down and accept the terms.

A screenshot of the YouBike app sign up screen
Sign up screen

Next, you’ll need to fill in all the info in the below screenshot. First, enter your location (present city in Taiwan – don’t worry if you plan to move cities later) and mobile number.

Click the arrow beside “ID card” and change it to “Passport” for entering your passport or ARC number (for local residents).

A form to register for YouBike, including city, mobile number, passport number and birthday
Make sure to change the ID to “Passport”

Enter you birthday and choose a password that consists of 8-12 letters and/or numbers.

Important: my password wouldn’t work at first – until I figured out you need to add at least one capital letter to it, even though it doesn’t tell you that!

At the bottom of the form, click the “send” button on the right to receive a text message with SMS verification code.

Input that code in the “SMS code” space on the left. Then you may need to click anywhere on the screen to make your keyboard disappear so that you can see the “Next” button at the bottom. Click on it.

Screenshot of a form for signing up for YouBike with spaces to send and input a verification code
Click the “Send” button first to receive a text message, then input the code on the “SMS code” line

Next you will be taken through some screens about insurance (please skip to Step 3 below).

Note that you can also do this registration process at the electronic kiosk located at some YouBike rental stations. The directions will be essentially the same as above.

Step 2b: Single Use Rental Signup (no Taiwan phone number)

If you don’t have a Taiwan phone number (for example, you opted for an eSIM, portable WiFi device, or none of the above), then you can still rent a YouBike with an email address and credit card.

You can download the YouBike 2.0 app before you trip. If you won’t have Internet access when trying to rent a YouBike, then do the following steps before your trip, or perhaps in your hotel in Taiwan or anywhere that you have WiFi.

If you will have Internet access on your phone, then you can do the following once you’ve found a YouBike and you are ready to rent. You’ll need your credit card, too.

Screenshot from YouBike app showing login tabs and option to choose Single Rental at the bottom
You’ll need to choose “Single Rental”

Click on the hamburger menu and select “Login/Register”. Then choose “Single Rental” at the bottom” (see above screenshot).

The next page will inform you that you can rent a maximum of 120 hours total in this way and that a TWD 3000 hold will be placed on your card each time you rent. The hold will be released when you return the bike.

On the next page, scroll down and accept the terms. Next, enter your email and click the “Send” button on the right.

A uBike app screenshot with bike image at the top and spaces to input email address and email code
Input you email, click send, then enter your email code on the left.

Input the code you’ll receive by email in the “Email Code” space.

You might need to click anywhere on the screen to make your keyboard disappear, so that you can see the “Next” at the bottom (see above). Click “Next”.

A YouBike app screenshot that says "Choose Payment Type", "Credit card" and "set up payment type"
Choosing payment type for credit card

If this works, you’ll be taken to a screen that says Single Rental. Click on it. Then you’ll be taken to the “Choose Payment Type” screen (see above). Payment by credit card will be the only option available. Click “Set Up Payment Type” at the bottom.

Now you’ll need to enter your credit card information. Note: sometimes one of my credit cards simply doesn’t work in Taiwan (not just for YouBike but for everything). Having two different credit cards is a good back-up plan in case one of them doesn’t work.

After entering your credit card info, click “Add Card” at the bottom.

If the system likes your card, you’ll get a pop-up saying “Register Successfully”. Your card will now be registered in the app for 5 days. Bring your card with you when renting, though, just in case you need to add it again.

Step 3: Connect EasyCard and Get Insured

Only registered users (with Taiwan phone number) can connect an EasyCard and get YouBike insurance. You’ll need to know your passport number. If you don’t have a Taiwan phone number, skip to step 4b below.

After completing Step 2a above, you will be taken to a screen (see below) which gives you the choice of EasyCard, iPass, or Scan & Go. Choose “EasyCard” or “iPass” to register either of those cards.

A YouBike app screenshot showing the option to assign an EasyCard, iPass, or Scan & Go
Card type choices

The “Scan & Go” option lets you rent a YouBike and pay with credit card, but you’ll need to add the credit card to your account first (“Add card” in the hamburger menu).

Note: you can add up to 5 different cards to one account. In other words, for a family or group of friends, one person can sign up and connect 5 different EasyCards to their account for their family members or friends to use. Do this under “Add Card” in the hamburger menu.

For most people, you will choose EasyCard or iPass, then you will be prompted to enter your IC card number.

The number can be found at the bottom right on the back of the card (see image below).

A hand holding a smartphone that shows an EasyCard symbol on a mostly white screen, with a space to enter an EasyCard number, and the same hand is holding an EasyCard under the phone, with half of the card sticking out, and a card number at the bottom of it.
Enter your EasyCard number from the back of the card.

After you make your selection, you will be taken through a series of screens about insurance (see above).

YouBike insurance sign up screen
Registered users can obtain accident insurance

As the above screen indicates, this insurance only applies to the person signing up for it. In other words, if you are using your account to assign an EasyCard to a companion or family member, the insurance will only cover you, and not them.

To complete the insurance set-up, you’ll need to enter your passport number, date of birth and phone number again.

At the end, a popup will say that your passport number has been successfully insured. Note: I also recommend getting your own additional insurance for traveling in Taiwan.

Step 4a: Rent a YouBike (with EasyCard)

Looking down on three YouBikes docked at a station
Find a YouBike at any docking station

After your account is all set up, EasyCard is connected, and (optional) insurance is added, it’s time for the easy part: actually renting out a Youbike.

Find a YouBike at any rental station. Use the in-app map to find one if necessary.

Always check the YouBike for any problems before renting. Here are the things to check for.

Don’t choose a YouBike with its seat turned backwards – this indicates that there is a problem with the back. And if you ever find something isn’t working on a YouBike, return it to a station and turn the seat backwards.

Close up of the electronic display on a uBike that says "Tap the IC card" and a hand holding an EasyCard about to tap it on the scanner
Press the green button then scan your EasyCard

Press the green Rent Via IC Card button on the bike then tap your EasyCard on the sensor.

The screen will say “Pull the bike backwards.” Pull the bike out and your rental period has begun. At this point, you may want to adjust the seat level if necessary before riding. Now you’re ready to go!

Step 4b: Rent a YouBike (single use rental with Credit Card)

Assuming that you have already downloaded the YouBike 2.0 app (Step 1), registered with your email, and assigned a credit card to your account (Step 2b), you’re now ready to rent a YouBike.

You should be able to do the below without an Internet connection, but you will need to enable Bluetooth on your device for it to work.

Find any available YouBike at a docking station. Check the bike for any problems and make sure the seat isn’t turned backwards (indicating it has a problem).

A finger pressing an orange QR code button below a YouBike's electronic panel
Press the orange QR code button.

Now, press the orange “Rent Via QR Code” button on the bike. A QR code will appear on the bike’s electronic screen.

In your app, go to the main map screen and press the orange scan button at the bottom.

Scan the QR code on the bike’s electronic screen with your device.

A hand holding up a smartphone that shows a map and an orange scan button at the bottom, with a bike's electronic display showing a QR code
Click the orange scan button on your map and scan the QR code on the bike’s screen.

If scanning the QR code doesn’t work due to glare from the sun, there’s also an option to enter a verification code.

If scanning the QR code works, the bike’s screen will say “Pull the bike backwards.” Pull the bike out and adjust your bike’s seat if necessary. You’re ready to go!

A TWD 3000 hold will be placed on your credit card account at the time of rental. This amount, minus the rental fee, will be returned after you return the bike to any rental station.

Step 4c: Rent a YouBike (with app & QR code)

Close up of a uBike's electronic panel with a QR code on it and the words "Scan QR code", with orange and green button below

Let’s say you have the YouBike 2.0 app and you’ve registered with a local phone number, but you want to pay with credit card instead of EasyCard.

In this case, you’ll need to click “Add Card” in the hamburger menu to add a credit card. (Remember: you can add up to 5 different cards in one account).

Then, to rent a YouBike, you’ll push the orange “Rent Via QR Code” button on the bike.

Close up of a uBike's electronic screen saying "Pull the bike backwards"

Open the YouBike 2.0 app, go to the map page, and press the orange “Scan” button. Scan the QR code on the bike’s electronic screen, just like I described in other steps above.

If it works, the screen will say “Pull the bike backwards”. The rental fee will be deducted from your card when you return the bike. It’s that easy!

Step 5: Return the YouBike

Close up of the front tire of a YouBike and its metal panel about to slide into the dock's receiver
Slide the bike into the slot.

To return the Youbike, simply find a station with empty spots (using the in-app map if necessary) and slide the bike into an empty slot. Make sure the bike’s round metal panel on the left side slides into the receiver on the docking station.

Once the panel and receiver connect, the bike will be locked to the dock and the bike’s screen will now say “Tap your EasyCard.”

Close up of a uBike's electronic screen saying charge $0 and Balance $382
Charge and remaining balance on your EasyCard (I had zero charge because I was just playing around with it to take these pictures)

When you successfully tap your EasyCard or iPass, the screen will show how much money is deducted for your rental and your current balance, just like when you tap out of MRT stations.

If you rented the bike with a QR code or credit card, you’ll just need to push it back in and there’s nothing else to do.

Close-up of a uBike screen that says "Thank you"
YouBikes are so polite!

More Questions about YouBikes

Here are some common FAQs about renting EasyBikes in Taiwan.

Does the YouBike come with a helmet?

No, there are no helmets provided with YouBikes.

What other equipment should I know about?

The front end of a YouBike, including basket, gears, and electronic panel
Basket, gears, and display

Every YouBike has a basket at the front for putting your things.

The bikes has three gears. 1 is good for uphill, 2 for flat roads, and 3 for downhill or going faster on flat roads. If you stop at 3rd gear, you can shift it to gear 1 or 2 again before you start riding for an easier start.

Close up of the black seat of a Youbike with a yellow lever to adjust its height
Adjustable seat

On the main display, there’s a solar panel, digital screen which displays messages, an IC Card scanner, an orange QR code button, and green Rent via EasyCard button.

The bike makes three possible sounds for success, fail, and reminder (hear them and see pictures of all the equipment here).

Closeup of the yellow wheel cover on a YouBike that says "UBike" in green letters on it
Don’t sit on the wheel cover or ride with 2 people.

There is a rotating bell on the left handlebar. A front white LED light turns on when riding, and a back red one stays on for 60-90 seconds after you stop.

The bike’s low downtube is helpful for short people to reach their leg over the bike, while the back wheel cover prevents skirts from getting stuck. Never sit on this panel or ride a YouBike with two people.

What should I check before riding a YouBike?

Make sure that the YouBike is fully functional before renting. Check the follow things:

  • Do the brakes work?
  • Do the tires have enough air?
  • Do the front and rear lights work?
  • Is the seat properly adjusted for your height?

Note: if there’s any problem with a bike, return it to a dock and turn the seat backwards. A backwards seat indicates that there is a problem with the YouBike.

What rules are there for riding in the city?

Nick Kembel on a YouBike on a cycling path through a park
Riverside parks have the best bicycle paths

First and foremost, always ride carefully and defensively in Taiwan. Just like walking as a pedestrian in Taiwan, never assume that a car will give way to you (they usually won’t).

While there are some dedicated bicycle lanes (either on sidewalks or on the road), pedestrians may walk in them or cars may drive in them, so you always need to watch carefully.

There are no specific rules about riding on roads vs sidewalks (at least if there are, they are never enforced), and scooters will drive on both as well. But if riding on a sidewalk, watch for sudden drops/rises on the sidewalk surface and for people or scooters that can come out of nowhere.

Just like scooters, you can’t take YouBikes on any national freeways in Taiwan. These are indicated with a number inside a flower symbol on GoogleMaps. If you do, you might even make the news in Taiwan, like this person did.

A few more YouBike-specific rules are: don’t pedal the bike when it is docked, only one person per bike, and don’t forget your things in the basket.

Also common sense: don’t check your phone while riding, don’t ride-by-side with another bike, follow all traffic rules, and don’t ride the wrong way down a street.

How can I lock the YouBike?

A hand inserting a metal pin into a round slot on the wheel holder of a YouBike
Insert the pin into the slot

Every YouBike is equipped with a keyless lock. The wire lock can be found sitting in the front basket.

You’ll need to turn your front wheel slightly to the right so that the locking holes at the base of the handles column align.

Take the lock pin out from the basket insert it into the holes (see photo above). When properly inserted, the bike’s electronic screen will say “Lock Successfully” (see photo below).

Close-up of a YouBike's digital screen that says "Lock Successfully"
Bike is locked.

To unlock the bike, if you rented the YouBike with an IC card, press the green button and then scan your EasyCard on the sensor below the bike’s electronic screen. The screen will say “Remove the lock.”

After you remove the pin and place it back in the basket, the screen will say “Enjoy your ride”.

If you rented by QR code (single use or credit card rental), press the orange QR code button on the bike. Open your YouBike app and go to the main map screen. Push the “Unlock” button on the screen then scan the QR code or enter the verification code on the bike.

You can find pictures of each step here (scroll down to locking/unlocking section).

Can I rent multiple YouBikes with one account or EasyCard?

One YouBike account can be linked up to five EasyCards. In other words, if you are traveling with a friend or family, only one person needs to register an account. The others just need to add their EasyCard to that account for renting their bikes.

However, only one EasyCard can be used to rent one YouBike at a time. So you cannot rent two YouBikes at the same time with only one EasyCard. Learn more about EasyCards in my EasyCard guide.

Why isn’t my password working when signing up?

Although it doens’t even tell you this, the password you create when signing up must have at least one capital letter. I figured this out through trial and error (and lots of frustration). It is beyond me why they wouldn’t mention this.

The system will however tell you that your passport has to be 8-12 letters and/or numbers.

Why can’t I register an account after doing single use rental?

Another glitch I found was that after I tested out registering with my email and credit card for single use, there was no option anywhere in the app to sign up with a phone number and EasyCard.

After some more frustration, the only solution I found was to delete the YouBike app and download it again. Then I was able to register with mobile number and assign my EasyCard.

Does YouBike rental come with Insurance?

YouBike offers accident insurance but only if you sign up for it. It also only works for the person whose name and passport are associated with that account. So if you are using your account to assign EasyCards to other friends or family members, the insurance will only cover you and not them.

If you didn’t already follow the Step 3 I described in this article to apply for insurance while signing up for YouBike, you can still to it later.Under the hamburger menu, select “Get Insured”.

If you’re a local resident, you’ll be prompted to enter your NHI (National Health Insurance) number. If you’re not, there won’t be this stop.

To understand exactly how the YouBike insurance works, I suggest that you read YouBike’s official insurance policies here or contact the numbers provided if you have any concerns.

A yellow and orange YouBike 2.0 parked on a bicycle path below red arched Rainbow Bridge in Taipei
Enjoy your ride!

2 thoughts on “How to Rent a YouBike in Taiwan (with or without SIM/EasyCard)”

  1. You can probably rent 2 youbikes at once if you rent one orange(1.0) and one white(2.0). But then you’re limited to areas where they have youbike 1.0 to return. I also saw one brown seated youbike on Facebook. Surprised that there is no youbike in Keelung.

  2. I got a temporary tourist SIM with a Taiwan number BUT it was already registered so I couldn’t complete the registration process. They should have a way to wipe the old accounts out.

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