Shared bikes were used 690 million times in Beijing during 2020.
The figures emerge as the capital’s transport department seeks to limit the number of shared bikes in the city center to 800,000 in 2021, according to an April 13 press release. The city center includes Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan districts.
The 800,000 bikes are shared (no pun intended) between the three main bike-sharing companies which operate in Beijing; Meituan – 400,000; Hellobike – 210,000; Qingju – 190,000.
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The daily average number of bike-share trips in Beijing in 2020 was approximately 1.89 million, an increase of 13.4% compared with 2019. September 25, 2020, saw a record number of bike-share trips in one day with 4.35 million trips in the capital.
The department of transport is encouraging bike-share companies to provide more bikes outside of Beijing city center in suburban areas such as Tongzhou and Changping districts.
Although bike-shares offer a convenient, inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way to get around, they have not been without their problems. An oversupply of bikes has led to pile-ups in some areas in what many describe as ‘bike graveyards.’ Beijing has not been immune from such problems. In 2017, it was reported that in many places, piles of bikes blocked roads, particularly in the narrow hutong streets.
In recent years, Beijing has introduced designated areas where shared bikes should be parked. Failure to comply can result in fines for users. The latest figures claim that in the city center, as well as in the districts of Changping, Daxing, Tongzhou and the Economic-Technological Development Area, there are a total of 772 ‘E-Cage Zones’ where bikes can be parked.
The popularity of shared bikes is likely to only increase across the Middle Kingdom. But it’s clear that with increased popularity, there will also be a need to update relevant rules and regulations.
[Cover image via Unsplash]