Users take bikes, at the end of the trip leave them on sidewalks or lawns. When such a bike is accumulated a lot, the townspeople begin to feel uncomfortable. Among 15 global cities with the largest number of public bikes 13 are in China.
Paris (21 thousand bicycles) is located on the fifth line of the rating. London (16.5 thousand bikes) — on the twelfth. “On the first line is Hangzhou. And although the city is slightly more of London, its system of public bikes five times larger than London — 84.1 thousand units”, — the author writes The Guardians Nick van foreign Ministry.
Now China is gaining popularity of services that allow you to take the bike to rent, and then leave it at any point of the city. They come in place of the classic Bicycle. To unlock the bike, users simply scan the posted QR code with one of the applications that produce competing services — Mobike, Ofo, Bluegogo, Xiaoming and a dozen clone companies.
Such startups have been called “Uber for bikes”. Companies are forced to compete for market share and investments. “The scale of their activity is striking. Less than a year only Mobike filled the streets 18 Chinese cities for its signature orange-and-yellow bike, releasing more than a million units.
And in such cities as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou more than a hundred thousand units,” writes van foreign Ministry. Due to the large number of bicycles on the streets is a problem — at the end of the trip, the people throw them to the spontaneous Parking lots cluttering the sidewalks and lawns. And if the bike is destroyed, he continues to lie idle for many days.
The company was founded Mobike Hu Weiwei and Davis Wong, the former head of Uber in Shanghai. In the first three months of 2017 Mobike start in another six cities, with three cities (Changsha, Hefei, and Tianjin) — only in March. “Mobike invests in Chinese Internet giant Tencent, and thanks to a deal with Foxconn — Apples supplier, the company can produce up to 10 million bikes per year”, — the author writes The Guardian.
Over the past decade, Chinese people have lost interest in Cycling. “Due to the increased income and economic freedom, the people began to worship the personal vehicle, and about the bikes forgotten,” writes van foreign Ministry. In Guangzhou the number of trips that people make by Bicycle declined from 20% in the late 1990-ies up to 5% in the mid 2010s.
Similar statistics are observed in Beijing, where in 80-e years of Cycling accounted for 60% of all displacements of residents. “Thanks to the applications to rent the bikes for model Uber this kind of transport has again become cool. Most of the users are young people 20-30 years. Now in Ganchzhou bikes everywhere, including in Parking lots near shopping malls and subway stations,” — says the author of The Guardian.
Chinese veloservice started the global expansion. According to The Guardian, in 2017, Mobike launches in Singapore and also, presumably, in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Bluegogo without coordination with local authorities (which may result in the companys trial) started in San Francisco, and Ofo has already sent the first batch of bikes in Cambridge.
“In China there is a saying. “In heaven is Paradise, on Earth Suzhou and Hangzhou”. In Hangzhou every year millions of tourists come to visit local plantations of green tea and enjoy the peaceful small town atmosphere”, the author writes The Guardian. The citys reputation suffered after the release of the documentary “Under the dome” (Under the Dome), where it was reported that the smog has covered Hangzhou for at least 200 days in 2013.
Air pollution of fine particles PM2.5 that stand out a result of exhaust emissions, six times higher than standards set by the world health organization, amounting to 66.1 µg/m3. According to the manufacturer of GPS devices Tom Tom, the city was the sixth in the world in the number of traffic jams and traffic congestion. To solve the local authorities began to develop a metro building seven additional lines and to increase the number of municipal electric transport, buying three thousand buses and taxis.
“However, the decisive role may be played by the system of public transport established by the city authorities,” writes van foreign Ministry. In 2009, the head of the company Green Smart Traffic (GST) Ren Li Qiang launched in Hangzhou, the first system of public transport, inspired by the example of Paris. According to his estimates, the citys Bicycle helps to reduce fuel consumption by 100 thousand tons per year, equivalent to 135 million liters of gasoline and diesel.
“The population of Hangzhou is growing by 200 thousand people. An increasing number of traffic jams, but the city is the historical center, so we cant tear down buildings and widen the road, as is happening in other parts of China. The development of a network of public transport relieves the roads and helping to save the environment. This is a very effective way to solve the problem,” said Qiang the author of The Guardian.
To do this in Hangzhou was built more than three thousand docking stations located a few hundred meters from each other. “The emergence of services that allow you to leave the bike anywhere, suggests that people are willing to pay the yuan an hour (a little more than 8 rubles — approx. Ed.) for the ability to use docking stations,” writes van foreign Ministry. “This is a big problem.
Thousands of abandoned bikes lying around the city, and many broken, because for them there is no one to follow. As a result, suffer the beauty of the city,” says marketing specialist in the company GST Eric Mao. Earlier in the year 2017 in Shenzhen, the unknown began to barricade with Bicycle lanes pedestrian areas. Is happening has accused the drivers of motorbike taxis, private security organizations and konkuriruya veloservis.
“I noticed that in Shanghai, by contrast, more order. Users leave their bikes in special areas — most often it is painted with paint a white rectangle with a figure of a cyclist” — the author writes The Guardian. According to the specialist of public relations Mobike Xue Juan, the company works with local authorities “in each city of presence”, to solve the problems with indiscriminate Parking.
“The state does not need to spend the extra money. For example, Shanghai authorities have hired special people who are near metro stations and remind cyclists about the need for Parking in docking stations, as well as encourage them to order”. Mobike is used in other ways for user training — encouraging careful and punishing those who dont think about pedestrians. Upon check-in app, Mobike each user 100 points, says Huang.
“If the user will photograph badly parked bike, he will get bonus points, and throwing the bike the offender will lose 20 points. When the score falls below 80, the rates of service increase.”. In the opinion of the consultant in the development of environmentally friendly transport in China Bram van Ooijen, veloservice without docking stations will be developed, because they managed to find a niche without strong competition. Apps like Uber and Didi Chuxing upset the usual taxi drivers that form Chinas powerful lobby.
They can strike and cause traffic jams. Veloservice without docking stations cause dissatisfaction only illegal motorcycle taxi, which lost the opportunity to earn after closing metro and private security organizations, who do not like the pile of bikes in front of the protected buildings. But they have enough influence, so the government anyway. According to the head of municipal company GST am Qiang Li, development of veloserviss without docking stations will interfere with their internal limitations and imperfections.
“They solved the problem of finding a place to Park the bike, but developed a new problem of GPS accuracy. Sometimes the bike is not there where it shows the app, or it may be broken, or locked behind a fence.”.
Such companies do good service, because there is no team that maintains the bikes, he continues. “In addition, they operate informally, without state support. This is an unsustainable model — they just want money.”. However, Li Qiang admits that thanks to investments from companies like Foxconn, Tencent and Didi, private veloservice will not disappear so easy.
“They have problems, but they figure out how to solve them. They are smart and they have money,” he says. Li Qiang showed the author of The Guardian prototype bike public areas without being tied to the dock, which is developing GST. The device uses a QR code, the smart-lock and GPS, as Bicycle competitors from the private sector.
First, the project will be tested in Hangzhou. Li Qiang hoped that such velosipedu will manage to become the part of the foreign program of the company, which it plans to start in 2017. Now GST is negotiating with the authorities of cities in Malasia, Panama and Italy.
“Were going to try a new tactic. Both systems veloserviss with dock and without dock has its own advantages and disadvantages, and we want to take from them only the best,” concludes Li Qiang.