New ways to move around in China / by MO JUN

Recently I visited Shanghai, China. As I walk along the streets, I noticed there were a lot of these bright orange bike labelled Mobike parked along the streets.

Seeing Mobike in almost every corner of the streets in Shanghai, outside the metro station, large shopping malls outside commercial buildings really got me curious. So I begin investigation…

First the user have to download the mobike app and register an account and pay a re-fundable deposit of ¥299 (S$60). Tourist and foreigners can just send in a scan copy of their passport for verification.

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Once we launch the app, the GPS tracker on the app will automatically locate the bike within the closest proximity. Click on the nearest bike and the app will plot the shortest route on the map to guide us to the bike. There is also a reservation function on the app that allows us to reserve the bike with a 15 minutes grace period.

Upon locating the bike, use the QR code scanner on the app to scan the QR code on the bike, which will unlock the bike. We can start riding it for ¥1 (S$0.2) per hour and rescan the QR code at the end it to pay for the rental.

And because of its built in embedded GPS system, a free-floating parking mode and a burglar-proof design lock, Mobike allow us to park it at any public areas for the next user.

The design of the bike was quite well thought through but not perfected, choice of stainless steel frames and “airless” tyres (soft compund rubber) makes maintenance a easy. However the non-adjustable bike seat can be rather uncomfortable for people above 1.70cm tall to ride.

No doubt this new innovative way of getting around is gaining it’s popularity with the youth in China. But there are still areas for improvement.