Broken shared bikes replaced as new rules loom
Shared bike company Mobike will replace its broken bicycles with new ones following a change in the traffic authority’s policy that had previously only allowed them to be repaired.
At least a third of shared bikes on city streets are unusable after two years, according to the Shanghai Bicycle Association. “In some areas, more than 60 percent of the bikes can be broken,” said Guo Jianrong, head of the association.
Since April, Mobike has collected over 69,000 broken bikes and is replacing them with a new model in batches. Half of the old bikes were recycled or destroyed.
“Many people may have noticed the new orange and white model,” said Mobike’s Yang Beiyi. “We aim to release at least 50,000 of these models to replace the old ones.”
Ofo said it is also collecting broken bikes and plans to replace them with new ones.
Several months ago, the traffic authority urged shared bike firms to scan the serial numbers of their bikes and upload them to a database organized by the authority. These numbers are considered digital license plates.
A new bike can only be put on the street if it takes the serial number of an old one.
“We aim to collect at least 100,000 broken bikes,” said Yang. This number is about a sixth of the bike firm’s total Shanghai fleet.
“A new regulation will be released soon,” Yang said. “From what I have heard, it will also urge bike firms to make it a routine to replace broken bikes. So we’d like to get ahead of it.”
Other industry insiders expect big changes once new regulations take effect.
Wu Zhidong, of the shared electric bike firm Xiangqi, told Shanghai Daily that the traffic authority is planning to “drastically shrink the number of shared bikes, perhaps only half of the 1.8 million bikes on the street will be allowed to remain.”
The local traffic authority would not comment on the number of shared bikes it will allow, or its plans for the industry.