Following a recent string of bike related government initiatives, including free bike trials in Shanghai’s Minhang district, Shanghai’s Forever Bicycle Company is introducing a new bike rental system in an ambitious plan to show off a modern Chinese bike-friendly society during the May 2010 Shanghai Expo.
Currently located in Xuhui, one of China’s most central districts, there are nine such bike rental hot-spots. A representative from Forever indicates that in Xuhui District alone, there will be 40 or more of these bike rental locations by the time the Shanghai Expo begins. However, by 2012, Forever hopes to have more than 3500 bike rental hubs spread across Shanghai’s vast city landscape at a cost of over 400 million yuan.
We’ve recently spoken with many local bike shops, riders, and city planning experts regarding bike rental systems, and the consensus indicates that for Shanghai to successfully implement a system like this, it must keep in mind two things: accurately distanced rental stations based on usability and proximity to buses and subways, as well as proper government funding and attention. Essentially this cannot be a half-way effort or it’s adoption rate will be low and over 400million RMB will have been simply thrown away.
The adoption rate among young bike riders is also a question of debate. 22 year old enoVate team member, Jermaine Chen, appreciates the program and it’s opportunities for environmental benefits as well as solving many people’s “last three kilometer” problems. Recent enoVate bike research also indicates that Shanghai youth are not vehemently opposed to renting a bike, instead praising the possibility to “bring friends together for a fun and enjoyable bike ride”.
enoVate is an insights and design firm based in shanghai. we publish daily insights and develop creative solutions for Chinas youth market. visit enoVates website for more information.