China’s ballooning bike-sharing industry, which picked up the pace almost a year ago, has been witnessing rapid developments. Not only the number of bikes on the streets is constantly increasing, various firms and corporations are constantly pumping millions of capital into the firms.
Owing to this scenario, China’s Ministry of Transport has come up with a few guidelines to both, boost and regulate this thriving sector. As per a statement, the rules are aimed to address congestion caused by too many bikes and illegal parking. Also, it plans to address the safety concerns over users’ deposits and personal information. This is the first time, the Ministry has stepped forward to regulate the industry which comprises over 30 bike-sharing services. It is soliciting public opinion from May 22 to June 5 on the draft rules.
The users generally have to install the respective apps of the firms, use it to locate the bikes, unlock them, pay rents and park in the delegated areas once they reach their desired destination.
It also acknowledges the issues bike-sharing service has been addressing, be it the traffic congestion or the problem of last-mile transportation, i.e. the arrangement for getting to and fro from metro stations.
Under the new, companies will have to start offering insurance to their customers. Moreover, they will be accountable for monitoring their bikes through geofencing. They will be required to penalize the irresponsible customers who park in the non-parking zones including roadside or in middle of the streets.
Also, generally firms charge a certain amount of money to start using their services. The amount ranges from $14 to $43 depending on the startup, however, these new rules may ask them to scrap the system of deposits and instead partner with companies that leverage credit systems instead. For example, ofo has already collaborated with Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, for the latter’s credit system named Sesame Credit. Whereas, Mobike, another well-known name in the bike-sharing hasn’t yet partnered with any such credit system yet.