Hello Bikes wave 'bye-bye' after government threat

Many people have been noticing brand new blue bikes from bike sharing company Hello Bike on the streets of Jing'an District, but they are set to vanish as fast as they appeared.

Many people have been noticing brand new blue bikes from bike sharing company Hello Bike on the streets of Jing’an District recently, but they are set to vanish as fast as they appeared.

The traffic authority of Jing’an District said they have called off the distribution and urged Hello Bike to retrieve the bikes at once or risk having them seized.

The bike company told Shanghai Daily that they had no plans to distribute bikes in Jing’an and that "it was simply a mistake ... the maintenance workers weren’t familiar with the route."

And it was quite a mistake — blue bikes could be found throughout the district from streets near Shanghai Railway Station to the junction of Weihai and Maoming roads.

On Weihai Road, Shanghai Daily found the bikes had hardly been ridden as their tires looked spotless.

Since August 2017, the Shanghai Transportation Commission has forbidden bike sharing companies putting new shared bikes on the streets as the number of bikes was getting out of control. The number of bikes at their peak in 2017 was 1.78 million.

That number dropped to 1.15 million within two months of the ban.

In April last year, Shanghai's traffic authority asked all bike sharing firms to scan and upload the serial numbers of their bikes to an online database to keep track on the number of bikes in the city.

Hello Bike wouldn't comment on whether the bikes that appeared on the streets were registered with the database, but said they will try their best to collect them.

The city’s traffic authority told Shanghai Daily even if the bikes were registered, the company still needed approval from the traffic authority to put them on the streets.

The traffic authority also revealed that they will issue a plan to adjust the number of shared bikes in the city based on the companies’ maintenance programs, services and user credibility.

“Companies with better performance will win the chance to put more bikes on the streets, while those which perform unsatisfactorily will have the number of bikes limited,” an officer from the traffic authority said.

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