Shanghai mulling bike-rental regulations

Shanghai is mulling rules to regulate the sizzling yet reckless development of the city’s bike-rental sector, local media is reporting (in Chinese).

The new rules, expected to be introduced in May and come into effect in June or July this year, are the latest government efforts to deal with the growing problems emerging with the bike-rental boom, such as illegal parking of bikes, failures in contacting customer service and slow deposit refunds.

Under the new regulation, bike-rental firms are requested to have three-year-old bikes scrapped off the road, for quality and safety considerations. In addition, firms should return the deposit or prepaid expenses within seven days upon users’ request.

In addition, bike-rental firms should have 24-hour customer service hotlines available, and resolve any complaint received within 48 hours.

In case any malfunction or damage occurs, bike-rental firms shall arrange maintenance staff to fix problems on the scene or tow the bike in question away (if can’t fix them on-site) within 48 hours.

According to Xu Daoxing, chief engineer at the Shanghai Bicycle Association, the city has 4.5 million registered users (in Chinese). Mobike makes up almost 51% of the total 435,000 dockless rental bikes (in Chinese) on the street. Ofo makes up almost 35%.

Bike rentals are certainly getting popular. A recent online survey of 1,300 people found that over a quarter of respondents use bike-rental services every day. More than 66% are willing to use rental bikes to travel in their city.