Circular of the Ministry of Transport on Solicitation of Public Opinions Concerning the Guiding Opinions on the Promotion and Regulation of Developments in Internet-based Bicycles Rentals(Mainland China)

James Cheng
The Ministry of Transport has been paying great attention to developments in bicycle sharing. To encourage and regulate developments in bicycle sharing, the Ministry of Transport has set up a joint task force in conjunction with other government agencies, such as the Communication Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the People’s Bank of China, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and the China National Tourism Administration to conduct a comprehensive review of released policies or comments drafts in various regions, perform focused research on 36 core cities, organize and distribute online questionnaires, conduct seminars attended by participants from different organizations such as local competent authorities, Internet bicycle rental enterprises, experts and scholars and users for listening to a wide range of opinions and suggestions from all walks of life. The Guiding Opinions on the Promotion and Regulation of Developments in Internet-based Bicycles Rentals (Draft for Comments) (hereinafter, the “Guiding Opinions”) are drafted on such basis.
The Guiding Opinions recognize that “bicycling sharing” is a part of the green urban transportation system and is an important method for the public in short distance movement and connecting between other public transportation means. The people’s government in a city is the agency largely responsible for the administration of Internet-based bicycle rentals and should promote and regulate its development under the basic principle of “service orientation, reform and innovation, orderly regulation, territorial management, and joint governance.”
The Guiding Opinions clarify the division of responsibility among various agencies, require local governments to find a development scheme that fits local needs, specify the responsibilities of each agency or department, set up joint collaboration mechanisms, enhance overall coordination, accelerate information sharing and promote developments in bicycle rentals.
The Guiding Opinions require making full use of trade associations and industry alliance functions to support the formulation and promulgation of self-discipline rules for the industry, thoroughly implement the relevant standards, and enhance services to the industry and self-regulation. The public shall be encouraged to participate in governance to form a public administration system with a main business entity that is supervised by the government and with public participation in its governance. The protection of consumer rights and interests should be enhanced to prevent passing risks to consumers and other similar acts.
The Guiding Opinions require all cities to explore vehicle placement mechanisms and guide businesses to provide reasonable and orderly placement of vehicles. Bicycle traffic networks and parking facilities shall be reasonably deployed, the development of bicycle lanes should be promoted, and parking spaces should be planned and created. For areas and sections of roads not suitable for parking, a blacklist may be imposed to manage parking prohibitions. In addition, there shall be plans to setup bicycle parking spaces at key locations in cities.
The Guiding Opinions stipulate that shared bicycles may not be used to carry passengers, and no equipment like child seats may be installed. No service shall be provided to children under 12.
The Guiding Opinions require enhanced credit management by creating a basic trustworthiness base database on enterprises and users so that unlawful conduct by such enterprises and users may be recorded, and a reward and punishment system shall be established for gain or loss of trustworthiness shall be established.
The Guiding Opinions require business operators to comply with the national relevant Internet security requirements by setting up their servers in China, establish a network security level protection and management system, improve preventive measures, comply with the law in collecting, using and protecting personal information, and enhance protection of system data.
The Guiding Opinions contain a new insurance mechanism where personal accident insurance and third-party liability insurance are purchased for users so as to protect the user’s safety and that of other people.
The Guiding Opinions provide that enterprises which collect deposits and advanced payments from users shall strictly keep separate its own funds and those of users. Dedicated fund accounts should be separately set up at the place where the enterprise was registered for dedicated purposes only with supervision so as to ensure the safety of the users’ funds. An enterprise shall set up a comprehensive user deposit refund system and actively promote a system for instant rentals upon deposit and instant refunds upon returns. Payment settlement services shall be provided by banks and non-banking payment institutions under contract.