Dublin’s bike lending scheme started in 2009, China’s in 2014. Dublin’s is still doing ok but China’s ran into trouble and a new possibility may replace it – and electric car for just 4,000 euro.
Five members of Beijing University’s cycling club grafted the idea of renting bicycles with the convenience of the country’s ubiquitous smartphone-driven internet economy.
They launched a company known as OfO, three letters of the alphabet resembling a rider on a two-wheeled cycle. For the cost of 10 cents you could pick up or drop off a bike with the help of a smartphone app.
Soon millions of blue, red, yellow and white bikes began to flood the cities. But bad habits began to spread and mountains of impounded, abandoned and broken bikes piled up on vacant plots as city authorities discussed how to deal with them.
Meanwhile another phenomenon, the mini electric car is beginning to change the countryside. The cheapest is about E1,500 and the most popular, the Hong guang, about E4,000. The four-seater does 170 kms on a charge. Its not regulated yet so it is a favorite among older people in the countryside, ideal for hopping to the market!
Can Dublin catch up?