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Consumers Are Going Crazy for Bike-Share Programs

The sheer number of rides speaks volumes for the popularity of bike-sharing with consumers. Today, more than 40 companies offer dockless bike share services in China. The top two alone, Mobike and ofo, handle more than 50 million rides every day [^1]. As of April 2018, ofo claims to operate in 21 countries and over 250 cities while Mobike operates in over 190 cities [^2] across China, Singapore, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and U.S. Bird and Lime, two California-based e-bike companies, are both in 100 cities.

Bike-sharing is also opening up welcome new opportunities in the gig economy. Bird pays freelance “bird-hunters” between $5 and $25 for charging one of its e-scooters, depending on how hard it is to find. Charging mostly happens at night and the vehicles must be back on the street in specified locations before 7 a.m. the next day. For the budding entrepreneur, crowdsourced local deliveries and logistics is another emerging gig on e-bike platforms.

However, bike-sharing is not completely without its problems. Haphazardly parked bikes often result in stacks of bicycles in the streets and annoy citizens. Several Chinese cities are investing in more bicycle parking bays to avoid bikes being left in public spaces.

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