Shared-bikes firm accused of flouting ban
Although batches of blue-and-white bicycles were spotted on city streets, local authorities have confirmed that there is still a ban on shared-bike companies putting new bicycles on the street.
A video posted online shows that around 10pm on April 3, a truck on Jipu Road in Yangpu District stopped to unload dozens of Hellobike machines, many of them looking new.
Another video shows a similar scene on Zhongjiang Road in Putuo District.
Recently, local TV news reported that Hellobike was putting new bikes on the street in Huangpu District.
However, the city’s traffic authority has told Shanghai Daily that the ban on new shared bikes has not been lifted.
It came into force in August 2017, though in suburban districts local authorities can allow a small number of new bikes.
At the time, there were about 1.8 million shared bikes in the city. While they were convenient for many residents, they also became an issue when they blocked roads and sidewalks and caused potential risks to traffic.
Last year, the traffic authority further strengthened the management and supervision of shared bikes by asking companies to scan and upload serial numbers of their machines to an online database so it could keep track of numbers.
Hellobike entered the market after the ban. As a local company registered in Minhang District, it was allowed by the local authority to put out some bikes in a trial operation.
However, according to a TV news report, they are now everywhere in the city and those in Huangpu District appeared not to have been registered with the authority.
Hellobike said these bikes, and those appearing in Putuo and Yangpu on Wednesday night, had been wrongly allocated by its logistics department and would be removed as soon as possible.
The company also blamed its logistics department for new bikes appearing in Jing’an District in January. The district’s traffic authority said roughly 2,000 had been put on the streets.
Hellobike said its logistics department was “not familiar with the transport route” and would “cooperate with the government to take the bikes back.”
Shanghai Daily asked the city’s traffic authority what measures it would take to stop companies from putting new bikes on the streets. It hadn’t responded by press time.