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WATCH: Shanghai reveals plan to regulate bike-sharing services
CHINA may be notorious for its smog-filled skies but bike-sharing companies nationwide are looking to change that reputation by bringing an eco-friendly transportation option to its cities.
Companies such as Mobike, ofo and Bluegogo have been competing to grow their user bases, capitalising on the biking trend which has been spreading across the country.
Their offerings are a departure from traditional bike-sharing systems that implement docking terminals at specific locations. Instead, bicycles can be unlocked using smartphone applications and left in any location to be picked up by its next user.
Though extremely convenient, the system has clogged up walkways and streets with abandoned bicycles, restricting the movements of automobiles and pedestrians.
In response, Shanghai city officials have started producing regulations to prevent public spaces from being littered with the bicycles, and to ensure bike-sharing companies take responsibility of the management of their products.
“Competition in the bike-sharing market is fierce. We understand different companies are trying everything to occupy the market,” city officials said in a statement.
“But parking, maintenance, and management must follow … instead of throwing the cost of management into the hands of society.”
However, the officials also stressed they support bike-sharing, especially as means of pushing back against the air pollution which has long plagued Chinese metropolises.
Shanghai is home to the world’s largest population of bike-sharers in the world, with 4.5 million cyclists engaging with bike-sharing services, as estimated by the Shanghai Bicycle Association. They also anticipate the city will be home to 500,000 shared bicycles by mid-2017.