Serious Disadvantages and Problems Still Exist in the Bicycle Sharing Industry

Being an avid shared bike user who grew up in China, I am truly impressed by how fast dockless bike sharing industry has expanded globally and how much potential this bicycle sharing business has. After all, it is just a concept several years ago and suddenly comes into our life, bringing up more convenience to people. I have seen a blog post before that has thoroughly analyzed the advantages of the dockless bike industry. The main reason that it has successfully expanded so fast is the exploration of our application connectivity, easily pay for the use by downloading application on the phone. The shared bike business owners who create such a billion-dollar project are smart and can easily track people’s daily activities by collecting data from the daily use of the bikes distributed around the cities. By doing some collection, they can learn the possibility of their investment in each cityImage result for shared bike on the pole

Nonetheless, we may wonder if the growth of shared-bike industry is really high, can it really conquer the world right now? From my perspective, I will say no (sorry, I have to disagree with you here). Without a well-developed strategy to handle the vandalism, no matter how convenient the shared bike locations are, the general loss is always higher than the profit one can get. For example, according to data released by Gobee Bike this year, the green-colored bicycle has about 150,000 users in France, and they have placed more than 2,000 bicycles in the city of Paris. So far, they have stolen 1,000 bicycles, 3,400 bicycles have been destroyed, the police received more than 300 complaints against bicycle users, and another 6,500 bicycles need to be repaired. Hence, although many people are willing to use it, it still cannot let the company generate any revenue because the high maintenance cost creates the negative profit growth for the company, and the long-run negative profit growth always lead to the loss of the marketing campaign and failure. But what can those companies do to prevent those losses? Nothing. Same thing happened in China market too. For example, recently, there is a huge Chinese shared bicycle bubble, meaning, a huge number of bicycles are either impounded or abandoned. Currently, many people still blame the Chinese for “no public morality” damage caused by shared bicycles

Now back to the U.S., the city with the highest number of shared bicycles in the United States is Dallas, Texas. Since August 2017, the pile-free shared bicycle has entered Dallas. Most of the shared bicycles, like the situation in China, occupy the public space for days or even months, and many of them show no signs of use. Bicycle cemeteries also appear in large numbers, and a small pile of them can be seen on the sidewalk. Many of them are either arbitrarily damaged on the ground, or thrown into the river, the lake. Believe it or not, some people even set fire to a bicycle, some people made the shared bicycle into “equipment art” because they liked to watch it splitting into half and hanging on the pole. The shared bicycle brand LimeBike from California is described as “the Dallas version of the road killing animals”, which is regarded as a disturbing roadblock, resulting in more communities forbidden to share bicyclesLimeBike Sawed in Half, Bolted to Deep Ellum Telephone Pole

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/25/gobeebike-france-mass-destruction-dockless-bikes

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612123/the-secret-data-collected-by-dockless-bikes-is-helping-cities-map-your-movement/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2018/07/01/theft-and-destruction-of-dockless-bikes-a-growing-problem/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7b6fb1965ff6

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/weird/LimeBike-Sawed-in-Half-Installed-on-Deep-Ellum-Telephone-Pole-470175863.html

 

5 thoughts on “Serious Disadvantages and Problems Still Exist in the Bicycle Sharing Industry

  1. Coming from the same cultural background as you are in China, I totally understand the situation you described in your post. I personally enjoy traveling a short distance by bicycles more than any other mechanical transportations. However, it is not easy sometimes for people to store their bike without concerning the possibility of pilferage. This is where sharing bicycles come in handy. They can be really cheap and convenient. Just like you described in your post, all the bicycles placed in China are facing problems of damaging, stealing and even being part of “street art”. I went to an exhibit of a collection of several different damage done onto those bikes. Some of them are found in the ocean and covered in rust; some of them are dismantled into parts; some of their locks are opened with explosives. Unfortunately, that is not the only issue existing regarding the sharing of bicycles. The entire market of bike-share is under the situation of overly supply. Almost every city in China has several different companies responsible for different kinds of sharing bikes spread in the city. As the market got more producers involved, the market became much more competitive. Due to the difference between the rapid growth of supplying and slow growth of demanding. (https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/03/bike-share-oversupply-in-china-huge-piles-of-abandoned-and-broken-bicycles/556268/). With all the potential users being fulfilled, the marginal surplus of the number of bikes is increasing. Therefore, it is quite common to see bikes being abandoned and piled together.

  2. I feel sharing bike doesn’t have “pros and cons”, it depends on people who use the bike. For the advantages, such as it reduce the carbon emissions and improve the health of people and so on. For the “cons”, some people do not follow the rules of sharing bike with bad behavior, which case bad impacts to others. Thus, I believe the real problem for sharing bike of “pro and cons” is that people’s behaviors in their life. 2017 was the year of the sharing economy explosion. When the sharing bikes was at the forefront of the “Internet plus”, it hits the traditional public transportation mode of the city, and are testing people’s integrity and morality. Whether Sharing bikes can go on and how far they can go depends not on one aspect of perseverance, but on our joint efforts.

  3. I believe dockless bike shares are only efficient and effective in areas where bikes are the most used means of transportation. I am specifically talking about dockless bike shares because dock shares such as Citi Bike in NYC do not have the same issues of vandalism, theft or public disturbance. Some places where bikes dominate transport are The Netherlands and Denmark. In these countries, it is extremely common for residents to use a bike as their main transport. Places like these have thousands of bikes all over. When I went to Copenhagen, I used a dockless bike share that uses an app. The app allowed you to unlock the bike and use it for the day or set amount of time. In Copenhagen, there are bike racks (literally) everywhere you look. There seemed to be a place to park your bike everywhere you looked. Denmark, and the Netherlands for the matter, are extremely safe countries. This cultural standard would lessen the amount of vandalism and theft with these bike share companies. These places seem to be the best option for these dockless bike share companies to operate due to the normalcy of bikes and low crime rate.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/what-bicycle-friendly-copenhagen-can-teach-us-about-commuting/article34233541/

  4. Annoyingly the world revolves around money and so all we see from the industry is how profitable it is. This can change from just having a different mindset as if you look at it from a research view there is so much data that can be collected from these bikes. In London, UK, there are 2 sorts of public sharing bikes. One nicknamed the Boris bike for the man who brought them to the city, Boris Johnson, and another local one in my area. The “Boris bikes” are similar to the ones we have on campus where you swipe the bikes in and out. The ones recently introduced in my area are free standing and all you need is to download the app which could ask about information of the person.
    These bikes can be very successful in small towns and communities but as soon as it is opened up to a larger city there is less respect for the bikes and therefore it will not work on a big scale.

    Refrence : https://www.visitlondon.com/traveller-information/getting-around-london/london-cycle-hire-scheme
    https://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/201173/transport_and_parking/150/cycling/4

  5. I like the idea of sharing bikes, because it is convenient for me to travel in the city, especially in a traffic city. I do not have to warry about carrying the bike or storing the bike. Also, it is cheap. In China, it takes about one yuan (0.15 cents USD) to take one trip.
    The idea of sharing bike is good. However, some people are trying to “destroy” the sharing bike industry. There are news saying that someone inserts needles into the saddle. Someone throws the sharing bikes into the river. Someone destroys the lockers of the bikes and owns the bike as personal. Also, the maintenance of the bike is a big problem. Many bikes have a terrible brake.
    I believe these behaviors are based on some kind of psychological problems, such like “hating the society” or “nobody knows and destroys stuff make me happy.”
    Due to the problem above caused by people, there is loss of confidence to the sharing bike industry. But still, the idea is great. I hope these problems can be solved in the future. Providing a mature sharing bike industry to people.

    Reference: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017-03/03/content_28419107.htm

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