Bike-sharing industry standards released
SHANGHAI — A set of industry standards was released Wednesday to regulate China’s bike-sharers who are driving an already massive sector which is highly competitive, crowded with rival players and rapidly evolving.
The cities of Shanghai and Tianjin have drafted regulations to take effect on Oct 1, after taking advice from bicycle manufacturers and bikesharers.
Bike-sharing companies, including Mobike and Ofo, will adhere to standards on production, operation, and maintenance of shared bikes.
The regulations specify a service life of three years for all such bikes and demand companies hire at least one maintenance employee for every 200 bikes.
The rules also regulate management of deposits, handling of customer complaints and compensation for users.
More than 10 million shared bikes are on the streets of Chinese cities, operated by over 30 companies. Between them, Mobike and Ofo take up more than 90 percent of the market.
According to China’s E-commerce Research Center, there were 18.86 million people using shared bikes at the end of last year, compared with 2.45 million in 2015.
But more users has led to more complaints about company practices as well as customer behavior and treatment of the bikes.
There were more than 2,600 complaints concerning shared bikes in Shanghai in the first four months of the current year, nearly nine times more than the same period in 2016, said Ning Hai, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Consumer Council.
Deposit returns and advance payments, too many bikes on the road and haphazard parking were top of the complaints list.
The new regulations stipulate that deposits and advance payments should be returned less than seven days after a request.