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March 6, 2017

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Cycling boom causing big pains for city authorities

THERE was a time when bicycles dominated the streets of Shanghai.

Now that they are making a comeback in bike-rental services, local governments find themselves compelled to address complaints about vandalism, rider violations and parking snarls.

District officials in Putuo announced late last month that users violating bike-sharing rules will face not only fines but also possible inclusion on a “naming and shaming” list.

Putuo has begun a collaboration with Mobike, one of the largest shared-bike operators, to iron out problems in programs that provide residents with rental bikes for commuting, errands and other short trips.

Mobike will now provide the Putuo government regular lists of users who steal or sabotage the shared bikes. The cases will be investigated.

“Violators confirmed by courts or law enforcement authorities will be put on a blacklist,” said Shi Wei, an officer with the Putuo Science and Technology Commission.

The list will be circulated in the district’s social credit system, but not all names will be released to the public, officials said.

The collaboration between Putuo and Mobike originated in the Zhenru subdistrict, which launched a campaign last October called “old bike for a bag of rice.” The project encouraged residents to dump old “zombie” bikes that were never used or were rusting and even inoperable.

It was aimed at reducing the clutter of bikes overflowing walkways and clogging bike-parking areas used by both private bike owners and bike-sharing programs.

“Zhenru is the first subdistrict where we have had such deep cooperation with local communities,” said He Hanqiu, a government relationship officer with Mobike.

“It’s a new undertaking for both sides, and we are exploring how to make it more effective.”

Ren Yuan, a social policy professor at Fudan University, lauded the idea of companies, government officials and communities working together to tackle problems.

“When bike-sharing first appeared, the service was hailed as a means to a greener, healthier lifestyle, helping people meet their needs for short-distance trips,” Ren said. “Now it’s time for the companies involved to broaden their social credentials.”

He said companies like Mobike and car-hailing platform Didi amass a large quantity of personal data, and that needs to be handled carefully,


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