Chinese bike-sharing firms pull 3,000 bikes out of rivers, vow to help reduce dumping

Companies planning to do more to discourage the misuse of bikes after clean-up operation offers evidence of the extent of the problem

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 July, 2018, 8:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 July, 2018, 8:10pm

The world’s two largest bike-sharing companies have recovered more than 3,000 bicycles from rivers during clean-up operations in southern China, according to newspaper reports.

Mobike collected more than 1,000 abandoned bicycles in two weeks from rivers in the central part of the city of Guangzhou, in Guangdong province, and found that 61 per cent of them were theirs, according to the Yangcheng Evening News report on Wednesday.

Its salvage operation followed a similar exercise started in April by Ofo, which has recovered nearly 2,000 bikes, the report stated.

Both based in Beijing, Ofo and Mobike are backed respectively by Alibaba, parent company of the South China Morning Post, and Meituan.

Why China’s bike-sharing boom is causing headaches

Mobike told Yangcheng Evening News that most of the units appeared to have been dumped at night by vandals after they were parked in areas near rivers.

Some bike-sharing companies have in recent months abolished the need to pay a deposit. Ofo and another competitor, Hello Bike, operate without deposits but require hirers to complete a credit check, while Mobike announced on Thursday that it would follow suit and not require a deposit.

Ofo and Mobike told the newspaper they planned to improve their systems to encourage customers to park properly.

Mobike to go deposit free amid slowing market and growing competition

Early this year, Mobike established 38 urban zones in Guangzhou where users will be charged extra money to park. Ofo, meanwhile, penalises poor parking by deducting credit points from customers, the newspaper said.

Mobike said bikes it recovered that could not be reused would have their parts used, while Ofo said its recovered bikes would not, Yangcheng Evening News reported.

The two companies also told the newspaper they had agreed to help the local government reduce the number of bikes on the streets, and had no plans to replace bicycles recovered in the clean-up.