Bike-sharing apps are an effective solution to the “last mile” problem for commuters, but service operators and users need to address issues related to the transport method, Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng said in Beijing on Feb 27.
Speaking at his first news conference since his appointment as minister in September, Li praised the online-to-offline bike rental model pioneered in China by Ofo, Mobike and Bluegogo.
“It’s an effective way of solving the ‘last mile’ problem, which is why bike-sharing services have been so widely implemented,” he said, referring to a term used to describe the final leg of a person’s journey.
According to data compiled by iResearch Consulting Group, the first week of this year saw 5.85 million active users of Mobike services, making it the market leader, while Ofo had 1.4 million active users.
“The development of the bike-sharing industry has been largely positive, but problems do remain,” Li said.
He urged governments to support and supervise the market, adding that service providers should improve services based on local regulations. Users should also ensure they obey traffic safety laws, he added.
Since the middle of last year, the bike-sharing market has boomed. Bikes are docked along sidewalks and can be accessed through smartphone apps.
However, the model has also led to problems such as illegal parking, vandalism and theft.
Recently, two nurses in Beijing were placed under administrative detention for five days for putting locks on two shared bikes, while the parking of bikes often violates traffic safety laws.
“Bike-sharing is a greener method of transportation and provides a user-friendly experience,” Liu Xiaoming, vice-minister of transport, said on Feb 27. “But it is a combination of online and offline business. Operators are usually strong in online services, but lack offline business experience, which causes problems.”