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Rental Bike Users Surge after Quake Strands Many in Tokyo

Rental Bike Users Surge after Quake Strands Many in Tokyo

   Tokyo, Oct. 9 (Jiji Press)--Bicycle share service users surged in central Tokyo after a powerful earthquake shook the Japanese capital's metropolitan area and stranded many train passengers on Thursday night.
   According to Docomo Bike Share Inc., a provider of nationwide rental bicycle services under the wing of mobile giant NTT Docomo Inc., users of its services greatly increased in the capital's Chiyoda and Minato wards, where East Japan Railway Co. <9020> briefly stopped train services after the earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 5.9, occurred at 10:41 p.m. (1:41 p.m. GMT).
   Most bike stations operated by the company in the center of Tokyo had no available bicycles left. Many of them were later returned to stations in Tokyo's residential areas, including Koto and Ota wards.
   "It's rare for bicycles in central Tokyo to be gone all at once at night, when (people's) movements usually calm down," a Docomo Bike Share official said. The company provides some 9,200 motor-assisted bicycles at about 870 bike stations in 11 wards in Tokyo.
   As an emergency measure, the company decided not to charge extension fees for use of bicycles that started between the time the quake occurred and 5 a.m. Friday.

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