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[翻译]新闻传真 - 台北:自行车解决一些问题,制造一些问题

来源:慢速英语   时间:2014-02-13 10:58:16

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

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

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

More and more people in Taipei, Taiwan are also riding bicycles 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 way to travel around the city.  City officials have launched a bicycle rental program called YouBike.  Many Taiwanese are now using bicycles to go to work and other places.  But the growing popularity of the program has led to new traffic problems. 

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

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

Hsu Tsai-tung is a 37-year-old office worker.  She rides a rented bicycle to parks, 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 her office job during the day.  Waiting for a bus would mean spending time, which she saves by riding a bike.  She calls biking a natural choice.

Ms. Hsu is not alone.  Using the one-speed bicycles works well for many Taiwanese.  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 many Asian cities.

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

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

Mr. Shen says Taiwan is studying whether the rental program has reduced air pollution.  He is not discussing its effectiveness at present, in case the study finds 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 begun to cause new problems for city traffic.  People who bike through the streets have to worry about cars making illegal sudden stops and fast right turns.

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

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

He says the city’s way of dealing with such incidents will be to educate people about every kind of bicycle safety needed in Taipei.

Taipei plans to complete its program with a total of 162 rental 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 using bicycles 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, including Washington, DC.  A growing number of Washingtonians are turning to bicycles to get to and from work.  In fact, the number of commuters who use bicycles has doubled in the city since 2007.

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

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

Ralph Buehler teaches urban planning at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech.  He has written a book about urban biking, called “City Cycling.”  He says there is a reason urban bike riding is now becoming more popular.

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

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

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

In the years after World War Two, many Americans moved to suburban communities, just outside major cities.  They decided to travel great distances to and from work in exchange for a home in the suburbs.  Their cars became a 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, they are saving anywhere between 8 or $9,000 a year.”

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

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

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

“For a business owner, sometimes they may look at a cyclist and see an average 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 more and more frequently.”

Ralph Buehler says governments save money when people use bicycles.

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

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

Washington, DC has also taken steps to protect bike riders.  It approved a safe 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 ride to work by bike.  The only city on the East Coast with more bike commuters is New York.

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

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

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

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

今天的节目:华盛顿越来越多的人骑自行车上班,并以此节省了很多钱。

“如果一个人从开车改为骑自行车,就能每年节省八九千美元。”

台湾的台北市也有越来越多的人骑车上班,但这也给它带来了问题。

自行车解决了台北的一些问题,又制造了一些

台湾的台北市为 260 万人口提供了一种在城市里快捷、低价出行的方式。台北市的官员创办了一个自行车租赁项目,叫做YouBike。很多台湾人现在骑自行车去上班、去其他地方。但这个项目越来越流行也导致了新的交通问题。

5 年前,小型摩托车在台北狭窄的道路上与出租车和公交车抢占空间。接着,该城市开展了一项计划,向支付租金者出租自行车。台北借鉴了日本东京、中国杭州和韩国大田等地的先例。

从那时起,台北的自行车出租了 1100 万次,大多数发生在去年。租客前半个小时的使用是免费的,此后每 30 分钟支付不到 50 美分的价格。

Hsu Tsai-tung 是一位 37 岁的办公室职员。她租自行车去公园、大学和工作单位。

她说,租车有一点好,前 30 分钟免费。此外,她说自行车的好处是因为她每天的工作不需要走太多。等公交车就是在浪费时间,而骑自行车则可以节省。她把自行车称作最合适的选择。

Hsu 并非个例。使用单速车对很多台湾人来说都是很不错的。自行车可以在超过 100 个租赁站停靠。这种交通工具还能减少空气污染,这是很多亚洲城市关乎健康的问题。

比如,中国的上海市 12 月份的污染程度创纪录,比世界卫生组织规定的安全级别高了将近 20 倍。

Shen Shu-hung 在台湾环境保护局工作。他想要知道自行车能否减少台北的污染。有害空气对上班族和生活在低层建筑的人来说很危险。

Shen 说,台湾正在研究这个租赁项目是否可以减少空气污染。他当前并非讨论其有效性,除非该研究发现自行车租客以前是步行或搭乘公共交通的。

而且,似乎台北街道上的 5350 辆自行车现在正在产生新的交通问题。在马路上骑车的人需要当心汽车突然违章停车和急速转弯。

一些租客放弃了在大街上骑车,并开始在人行道上骑自行车。但是这让很多行人感到生气或担心。

Huang Huang-chia 在台北交通部门工作。他说,任何事故都不尽相同。但他认为骑车的人应该接受更多教育。

他说,台北市处理这种事故的方式是教人们各种骑车的安全知识。

台北市计划在今年年底完成该项目所有的 162 个租赁站。

华盛顿特区骑车去上班的人越来越多交通问题在很多城市都是每天要面对的话题,包括华盛顿特区。越来越多的华盛顿人开始骑自行车上下班。事实上,该城市骑车上班族的人数从 2007 年以来翻了一倍。

Loren Copsey 最近在华盛顿西北部开办了一个名为 The Daily Rider 的商店。它针对的是把骑车作为交通方式而非练习和娱乐的人。

“他们给自己的自行车各种装扮,他们与专业自行车选手所骑的车子很不一样。”

Ralph Buehler 在弗吉尼亚理工学院与州立大学(弗吉尼亚理工)教城市规划。他著作了一本关于城市自行车的书,叫做《City Cycling》。他说,现在的自行车热是有原因的。

在过去六七十年,美国城市适应了骑车。“……到任何我们想去的地方去。”

“从 1956 年开始,大多数城市从联邦政府给州际高速公路体系投入的资金获得了利益。有 90%的联邦补贴,因此城市只需要填补 10%。这非常诱人。”

二战后的几年,很多美国人搬到了大城市外围的城郊居住。他们决定以长途上下班换取在郊区居住。他们的汽车成为了自由的标志。

但现在,很多人认为住在城市可以省钱。Greg Billing 来自华盛顿地区骑行者协会。“如果一个人从开车改为骑自行车,就能每年节省八九千美元。”

Greg Billing 说,店家也在关注。他的团队向商家推广自行车链条,包括 Scott Sanger 工作的 Studio Theatre。

我们实际上会去 4 个剧院,每个晚上,不管我们何时表演,都会带上这些链条。

“如果你是他们途中路过的咖啡店或花店,他们很有可能会跳下车进到店里。”

“对于一名老板来说,他们看到骑自行车的人可能会觉得这单生意低于其他购物者的平均价钱。但他们没有意识到的是,这个人会来得更频繁。”

Ralph Buehler 说,骑车能给政府省钱。“建设自行车设施比修建和维护公路系统或公共交通要便宜得多。”

交通部在两年内花费 500 万美元建设了一套自行车租赁系统,称为“首都自行车分享”现在,。该系统有 2 万成员分享 1660 辆自行车。

华盛顿特区还采取措施保护骑自行车的人。它批准了一项安全过路法,并在汽车和自行车之间划分区域。

美国人口普查局称,华盛顿有 4%的工作者骑车上班。在东海岸,有更多上班族骑自行车的城市只有纽约。