A number of Chinese cities have moved to put the brakes on the rising number of shared bikes in the streets, as the multitude of bicycles is starting to cause problems, including illegal parking and clogging up the areas around bus and subway stations.
Beijing is the latest Chinese city to unveil measures to contain the number of shared bikes on the streets, along with more comprehensive measures to regulate the thriving business.
Zhou Zhengyu, head of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, said on Tuesday that Beijing will likely control the number of shared bikes, according to the Beijing Evening News. Zhou also signaled that the city will soon issue guidelines for the bike-sharing industry.
In the Chinese capital, there are about 1.6 million shared bikes on the streets from 13 companies and there need to be "certain controls" on the number of bikes, the report noted.
"Bike-sharing is a very good way of commuting. The problem is about management, [we] will mostly ask companies to properly manage their businesses, including observing parking rules and bike safety," Zhou was quoted as saying by the Beijing Evening News.
Prior to Beijing, cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province and Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province had already barred companies from putting more bikes on the streets. Other cities such as Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province are also mulling similar measures.
More measures could come soon for the bike-sharing industry as companies continue to put more bikes on the streets to compete for market share. It is causing headaches for some city residents and officials as the bikes are crowding city streets, as well as bus and subway stations and communities.
Mobike and Ofo, two of the largest bike-sharing companies in China, on Tuesday declined to comment on Beijing's new measures, but they said they would work with local governments and communities to address the various issues.
Ofo also said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday that it has taken measures including sending employees around the city to manage bikes in various areas, as well as using a credit system to regulate bike parking in designated areas.
The companies also said that the current number of bikes in cities like Shanghai and Beijing have already reached saturation level.
According to the latest data, as of the end of July, there was a total of 16 million shared bikes across the country and nearly 70 companies in the industry, according to the China E-Commerce Research Center. There was also a total of 32 million users, the data showed.