10 ways to im­prove bike-shar­ing ser­vices

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO - QR code: Trip de­tails: Poor cus­tomer ser­vice: SMS: Ads on launch: Rusty chain: Adjustable seat: Brakes: Ped­als, wheels, spokes: Bell:

China’s app-based bi­cy­cle­shar­ing phe­nom­e­non has cap­tured the world’s imag­i­na­tion, em­bold­en­ing the Chi­nese com­pa­nies con­cerned to roll out their ser­vices in over­seas mar­kets, in­clud­ing the United King­dom, where the con­cept was first pop­u­lar­ized by Lon­don’s Boris Bikes.

Like count­less oth­ers, I’ve found the bikes con­ve­nient and fun. Of late, how­ever, there’s been less fun and more fear, foul­ness and four-let­ter words — some­thing bike com­pa­nies ought to take note of if they wish to con­sol­i­date their early gains, make bike-shar­ing a re­li­able long-term busi­ness, bur­nish Brand China and stay on the right side of reg­u­la­tors.

The fol­low­ing 10 ar­eas need ur­gent at­ten­tion:

This Day, That Year

Item­fromChi­naDaily, Aug7,1994:Acus­tomer­tries api­anoattheWang­fu­jing Hong­shengMu­si­cal In­stru­men­tS­tor­einBei­jing. Sale­sof­mu­si­calin­stru­ments were­briskinthe­firsthal­fof theyear.

Since 2011 China has be­come the world’s largest mu­si­cal in­stru­ment mar­ket thanks to its rapid eco­nomic growth and a ris­ing de­mand for re­cre­ation, ac­cord­ing to the China Mu­si­cal In­stru­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

From January to May, the out­put of the coun­try’s musi-

Quick re­sponse codes? Re­ally? On nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, users, in­clud­ing me, have found them to be SR (slow re­sponse) codes. The scan goes on and on; the bi­cy­cle doesn’t get un­locked. Then: “This bike is faulty/ un­der re­pair, use an­other one”.

Worse, the codes are cov­ered by as­sorted filth on a re­flec­tive sur­face (usu­ally shiny paint, plastic or glass), mak­ing it harder for the scan­ner to read them, es­pe­cially in the dark when you use the phone’s torch­light.

Such in­for­ma­tion was once ac­cu­rate, im­me­di­ate. Not any­more. I unin­stalled and re­in­stalled the apps, pre­sum­ing some­thing was wrong with my phone/the tele­com car­rier’s tools. No im­prove­ment. Fel­low users have con­firmed trip de­tails some­times are a joke.

Can’t get live help on phone or chat in English. Sub­mit­ting feed­back is a long-wind- cal in­stru­ments’ sec­tor reached 15.5 bil­lion yuan ($2.3 bil­lion), up 7 per­cent year-on-year.

To tap the po­ten­tial mu­sic learn­ing mar­ket, a ma­jor clas­si­cal mu­sic in­sti­tu­tion, the Juil­liard School, has been mak­ing in­roads. The school in New York will open an over­seas cam­pus in Tian­jin next year, of­fer­ing US-ac­cred­ited master’s de­grees in or­ches­tral per­for­mance, cham­ber mu­sic per­for­mance and col­lab­o­ra­tive pi­ano. In ad­di­tion, the school will of­fer an in­stru­ment-train­ing pro­gram, adult ed­u­ca­tion and ed process. Cost was in­creased with­out due no­ti­fi­ca­tion. And re­sponse to feed­back hasn’t been en­cour­ag­ing. You re­ceive stock replies and cor­po­rate­s­peak (“We’re look­ing into it”/“We’re cur­rently un­able to blah blah”).

There are far too many SMS texts in Chi­nese. Bike-shar­ing is avail­able now in the UK and Sin­ga­pore, so mak­ing the apps and re­lated ser­vices mul­ti­lin­gual should be a pri­or­ity. And in-app no­ti­fi­ca­tions and pro­mo­tional mes­sages should suf­fice.

You launch the app, and the app launches an ad or pro­mo­tion mask­ing the start screen. Un­der­stand­able (rev­enue is im­por­tant) but an­noy­ing.

Noisy, em­bar­rass­ing, po­ten­tially risky rides are not fun. Main­te­nance fre­quency needs to in­crease.

The clamp that al­lows height ad­just­ment can give way sud­denly, mid-ride, send­ing pub­lic per­for­mances. More than 1,000 stu­dents will at­tend the cour­ses.

China’s mu­si­cal in­stru­ment and ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors have de­vel­oped rapidly. But in­no­va­tion also drives mu­sic. In­ven­tions us­ing elec­tric­ity and elas­tic­ity are changing tra­di­tional in­stru­ments.

Com­put­ers can be made be­have like in­stru­ments. The shocks and shivers from sen­si­tive body ar­eas up your spine.

They range from fine to func­tional, semi-func­tional or dys­func­tional. Car­ry­ing a bag in the bas­ket can in­ter­fere with brake ca­bles, af­fect­ing ride qual­ity.

I’ve seen pedal-rods and wheels twisted out of shape, sug­gest­ing they are not sturdy enough to bear the weight of, say, 85 kilo­grams of hu­man flesh, blood and bones en­cased in skin. And, why is it that ev­ery time you try to lock the bike af­ter use, the curvy rod first hits a spoke?

I like the va­ri­ety of mu­si­cal sounds they make, but more of­ten than not their notes are anything but. A mute bell is the last thing you need on a mo­men­tum­gen­er­at­ing slip­pery slope with traf­fic ahead and brakes sub­op­ti­mal.

Con­tact the writer at siva@chi­nadaily.com.cn mu­si­cians play heav­ily cus­tom­ized iPads us­ing touch screen in­ter­faces, wire­less sensing and a range of apps.

Emerg­ing in­stru­ments may be­come as avail­able and adapt­able as smart­phones, ob­servers say.

HE YANGUANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A baby looks at li­brary books in Chang­sha, Hu­nan prov­ince, as Mom talks on a cell­phone on Tues­day.

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