Dockless bike rental services have taken over the streets in a number of cities in China. Our visit to Shenzhen has showed us how brightly-colored bikes are flooding the city streets. They promise cheap, sustainable urban transport and now, they are beginning to show up in Europe as well.
For some, the introduction of these bike rental services in Europe is but a delayed reaction to the success of their Chinese counterparts. For us, they present an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the problems that lie in wake of these developments.
Although these services create value for their users — offering very cheap, healthy and clean alternatives to cars and public transport — they leverage public space to their profit, acquire fine-grained personal data about the movements of their users and operate in a fully centralised and non-transparent manner.
What we propose is a decentralized autonomous organization. Each bike collects its own money and reinvests these funds back into the network by issuing repairs or if the situation allows it, expand the service by adding a new bicycle to the network.
Fairbike does not use bikes imported from China, instead it will ask local bike shops to deploy new bikes and to perform repairs. We want Fairbike to be a part of the city and support local economies.