Mobike, one of China’s biggest bike-sharing firms, just announced that it lost 205,600 bikes in 2019 to vandalism and theft. In an announcement published last Friday, the company also thanked its users for chipping in and reporting stolen and damaged bikes, adding that it received reports from over 189,000 users.
Vandalism is a major problem for bike-sharing firms. Manchester became the first city Mobike pulled out of last year due to theft and vandalism. Hong Kong startup Gobee also called it quits at the beginning of 2018, with bike theft prompting it to leave Europe altogether. And in China, bike-sharing firms have been known to find their bikes in scrap metal yards.
Mobike, which rebranded as Meituan Bike this year, introduced a credit score system awarding points for good and bad behavior -- but apparently that wasn’t enough. The company updated its rule book with new punishments this year, including account freezing and even reports to the police. Beijing, for instance, arrested 2,600 people in relation to bike theft and vandalism, according to the announcement.
Theft and damage may be in even more trouble now as the bike-sharing market has cooled off. Companies have been scaling back on their ambitious global expansion plans and raising prices while Mobike’s main Chinese rival Ofo has been hovering around bankruptcy for months.
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