The designated parking area for shared bicycles in Wangfujing area of downtown Beijing. (Photo: China Daily)
Bike-sharing companies will charge users a dispatch fee if they park bikes outside designated areas in central Beijing starting from June, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday.
Four popular bike-sharing companies, Mobike, Ofo, Bianlifeng and DiDi, have implemented the new parking rules and have marked no-parking zones on their mobile apps.
More than 150 electronically monitored parking areas and 17 no-parking zones have been set up around the Forbidden City and the Wangfujing shopping areas, according to the authorities of Beijing's Dongcheng district.
If users park their bikes outside a designated parking zone, their mobile apps will send out a warning message for the first violation. They will be charged a dispatch fee of 2 yuan ($0.29) for the second violation, and 5 yuan for the third and subsequent violations, the newspaper said.
The rental fee is generally 1 yuan for a 15-minute ride.
Dongcheng district has designated another 6,100 sites for parking bikes that will be surrounded by electronic monitors. According to the newspaper, 106 sites near subway stations, hospitals and stores will pilot the new system.
Xicheng district will also implement the new parking rules in the near future, the newspaper said.
Hu Xiangjun, deputy head of Dongcheng's urban management department, told Beijing Evening News that they need to save room to set up parking zones.
"We plan to build one parking zone about every 300 meters. Their sizes will be different according to the sizes of their locations. The longest will be 68 meters and the shortest 6 meters. Every meter can hold three bikes.
"And when a zone is full, staff members from bike sharing companies will clear it. They will also arrive at the scene within 15 minutes when any illegal parking or breakdown is reported through apps, to cope with these problems," he said.
Nine bike sharing companies are operating in Beijing with more than 1.9 million shared bikes as of the end of April.
China's bike-sharing business has grown rapidly. It has helped to ease traffic jams and promote a healthy lifestyle, but also caused new problems such as the random and arbitrary parking of bikes that created challenges for city management.
Many cities have set a limit on the number of shared bikes.