Bike rental firm Mobike has updated its credit score system. Renters who misuse their bike rental system will be charged up to RMB 100 for 30 minutes of cycling. The update is global and in China comes after Haidian District Court issuing Mobike with judicial advice and increased pressure on bike rental companies from local governments in China to tackle issues of widespread bike abandonment in public spaces.
Mobike users earn and lose points for good and bad behavior. The update roles users’ existing scores into a new system split five categories: 0-300 is Poor, 301-500 is Fair, 501-600 is Good, 601-700 is Excellent and 701-1000 is Outstanding. Scores are reappraised on a monthly basis.
Users falling into the Poor bracket (0-300 points) will be charged at 100 times the normal ride fee for every 30 minute hire period. Riders rated as Fair will be charged double. Fees are generally RMB0.5 or RMB1.0 for half an hour which means Poor users will be charged RMB50-100 depending on which bike model they rent. Those with high scores will enjoy new services and cash rewards. The changes are global, meaning if a London user’s score dropped through the Fair bracket down into Poor, he or she would be paying £50 per half hour (RMB440).
Poor and Fair-rated riders will not be able to purchase money-saving monthly passes or use the advance booking function to reserve a bike ahead of using it. Users whose credit scores drop can lodge an appeal with Mobike via the app.
The new rules and regulations are posted in the app for everyone to read: “By observing traffic rules and using the bikes properly, you will not only maintain a higher Mobike Score, but will gain access to even more services in the future. Most importantly, you will play a part in ensuring Mobike remains a safe, orderly and smooth transport network and benefit for the community”.
It is not clear how Mobike will assess some aspects of what it lists as poor behavior. The reasons given for falling credit scores include “riding bikes in an unsafe manner and ignoring traffic rules”; “parking bikes in off-limits areas such as in residential properties, basements, building lobbies and active bike lanes”; “obstructing other people’; “vandalizing bikes”; and “other civil violations while using the bikes.”
Geo-fencing makes parking offenses clear, but access other monitoring systems would be needed to evaluate whether a rider has, for example, jumped red lights or vandalized a bike.
Last year a property developer lodged a case against Mobike at Haidian District Court in Beijing. The company wanted to sue Mobike for the added costs for property management from dealing with abandoned bikes. The court dismissed the claim but issued Mobike with judicial advice (司法建议).
Update 10:30am 27 February: We have learned from Mobike that the penalties associated with poor behavior are not yet in effect. All users will be notified before the penalties come in.
Updated 3pm, 27 February: Changes reflect the fact that this is a global update and not just happening in China and that the changes were pre-planned and not as a result of a court’s issuance as previously stated.