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No justification for seizing legally parked bikes

Updated: 2017-03-03 07:56

No justification for seizing legally parked bikes

A reporter uses her cellphone to scan the QR code on a mobike on October 19, 2016 in Beijing. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

AFTER A VIDEO SHOWING LOCAL URBAN PATROL OFFICERS in Shanghai removing legally parked bikes of bike-sharing company Mobike was posted online, it was reported that more than 4,000 bikes, about 3,500 of which are owned by Mobike, have been impounded in the city. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Thursday:

Bike-sharing companies are swallowing a bitter-sweet pill as their rapid success is being accompanied by unexpected loss or damage to their assets. Among all the risks, the risk of their bikes being impounded remains one of the highest because urban patrol officers have been told to remove bicycles in violation of parking rules regardless of who owns them.

In many instances though, bikes that are parked legally are also being removed from the streets, and often they are damaged in the process. That imposes an extra financial burden on the service providers.

What happened in Shanghai is even more questionable as the video shows bikes of the bike-sharing company Mobike that were parked legally were also impounded. Reports said that the management officers were demanding an "administration fee" from the bike-sharing service provider to release the bikes. The negotiations did not work out. The urban patrol officers, who refrained from offering an explanation for the administration fee, have reportedly kept declining the bike-sharing company's request to return its bikes.

If this is the case, the enforcement of the rules has overstepped the boundaries.

Admittedly, it is the job of urban patrol officers to keep public spaces in order and illegal parking in check. But this does not justify their current approach to managing the bikes and their reluctance to improve their work in the face of this emerging industry.

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