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Daily Drip

Mobike is Introducing Automatic Fines in an Attempt to Curb Bad Parking

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Frequently hailed as one of China’s “four great modern inventions” shared bikes have brought bicycles back to the country’s streets in a big way. But while that may have some obvious health and environmental benefits, their takeover of major cities has also come with some well-documented downsides.

For one thing, there are the “shared bike graveyards”:

Watch: Jaw-dropping Video of China’s Shared Bike Graveyards Goes Viral

For another, city sidewalks in China have become overwhelmed by Mobikes, Ofos, and the numerous other shared bike brands with bicycles strewn all over them by users who previously have faced little consequence for leaving bikes wherever they like.

And it’s not just a problem in China; the carelessness of some users has reached new heights (quite literally) in some parts of the US:

So what to do to make users park their bikes more considerately? Some platforms in China have been sending users mildly admonishing text messages if they park outside of designated areas for a while now, but this week Mobike is introducing automatic fines based on such behavior. It’s a trial program, beginning in the Lujiazui financial district of Shanghai, but if it goes well it could be rolled out nationwide and beyond.

Offenders will get a warning for their first offence, and then a 5RMB (0.73USD) fine thereafter, which will be automatically taken from their digital wallet. If their credit isn’t enough, they’ll be unable to unlock another bike until the fine is paid.

Whether that’ll be enough to deal with unruly parking remains to be seen.

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Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.