Booming bike-sharing sector gets plan for future

Updated 2016-12-20 10:02:27 Shanghai Daily

A development plan for Shanghai's booming bike-sharing services will be issued soon to improve management as the number of bikes on the roads soars and new players enter the market, the Shanghai Bike Industry Association said yesterday.

The association, which is drafting the plan, said market leaders Mobike and Ofo had 150,000 bikes running in the city as of last month.

With more and more players joining the market, the total is expected to jump to more than 250,000 by the end of the year and to 500,000 by mid-2017.

Mobike released its 100,000th bike yesterday, making Shanghai the city with the largest number of public bikes that do not need to be returned to a certain spot, said the company, which only launched in the city in April.

The rocketing number of public bikes has brought convenience, but also trouble, including riders parking bikes illegally, taking public bikes into residential communities or even home so others cannot use them, and traffic violations.

"We are studying policies to better manage sharing non-motor vehicles," Yu Lie, deputy head of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, said last week.

Yu said the traffic police and other enforcement officers would coordinate to improve the management of bikes and authorities would crackdown on traffic violations by bike riders.

"Parking is a major issue," Wang Yi, an official with the traffic police, told a seminar on sharing bikes yesterday.

"Unlike private bikes that can be parked in communities' parking lots, public bikes have to be parked on streets and pavements, and pavements are a relatively limited resource in the city," Wang said.

"There should be some restrictions on the total number of sharing bikes."

Mobike's general manager in Shanghai, Yao Chengwu, said parking was becoming both more convenient and more regulated, with about 8,000 white line parking spaces added since June.

Wang also suggested operators work with authorities to set up parking spots where demand is high, such as Metro stations and tourist attractions.

He said law enforcement was also an issue as traffic police can detain a violator's bike, but this becomes problematic when the violator doesn't own the bike.

He suggested sharing companies work with police on a system to reduce violators' credit points or even suspend their right to use the service.

Zhu Dajian, a professor at the School of Economics and Management at Tongji University, said the issue of just how many public bikes the city can cope with will need to be addressed.

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