Group One - Sharing Economy

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Agnieszka, Theo, Louis, Azaz, Alex



Research

As a group, we gathered that:

- Central station deco-design was using similar colours to MTR connection lines, which was confusing when trying to find a route to a desired platform.

- Central station's interactive map screen was difficult to use and make sense out of where to go, the screen had lots of various types of buttons and graphics confusing for a first time user.

- Various types of transportation to choose from: MTRs, buses, trains, boats, taxis, trams. All of these seem to be on time, providing an easy way of getting from A to B efficiently and with no trouble.

- With one card (Octopus) it is possible to pay for all of the above public transportation (not taxis) in a matter of a tap. The card can be topped up.

- When entering MTRs, there are barriers where the card must be scanned to enter through. On the way out, a little screen at the barriers displays how much the journey costed.

- At MTRs, there are machines that allow to check the balance on cards.

- There was a lack of clear signage around the MTR, when finding the station we struggled to find out where each platform was. It seemed like as we got closer to it there was less indication of where it actually was.

- At crossings, when the light for pedestrians is red there are regular beeps, which speed up when the light turn green.

- Dolphins are at a high risk of extinction around Hong Kong (HK) due to overuse of speedboats. We could investigate the causes and reasons for domestic and commercial travel via speed-boat to and from HK island, subsequently to find out whether the opening of the new Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge will reduce this travel need, freeing up speedboat usage and allowing a safer, more ecological transportation route.

[2]

- While 62% of Hong Kong citizens want more of a sharing economy, 70% felt that the government are not open to it [1].  One example of a sharing system in Hong Kong is the bike sharing operator Gobee.bike.

The Governments views on various services

The city’s top innovation and technology official has now struck a more welcoming tone on online and sharing economy businesses, saying that he will explore removing regulatory barriers and update laws to help them operate.

- Ride-hailing service Uber, home-sharing operator Airbnb and bike-sharing service Gobee.bike have posed a headache for the government, which has to respond to growing consumer demand for technology-driven services, while ensuring that these businesses do not pose a risk to the public and comply with existing laws.

Innovation and technology minister Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung and his colleagues from the Innovation and Technology Bureau had previously taken flak from members of the public, after saying in June that Uber had broken the law deliberately “by allowing its drivers to pick up guests illegally”. The drivers have been accused of not having hire car permits or third-party insurance.

GoGoVan.png

Joseph Sung, founder of another bike-sharing player, HobaBike, believes the growth of such platforms in the city is inhibited by a sense of “protectionism” within the government.

“I feel the government is not doing enough to upgrade the infrastructure and laws to enable more sharing economies to prosper. There is a sense of ‘protectionism’ and “traditionalism” within the government,” he says.

District councillors over the past month received reports of many bikes left randomly in public car park spaces. Au said the problem could be easily solved with a new technology called “virtual parking space” used by many mainland operators, which requires riders to return bikes to designated parking zones.

If the bikes are not detected by signals in the spaces, the charging metre will not stop.

The practice could avoid disruptions caused by randomly parked bikes in public areas, and also facilitate better management by operators and regulators.

Our Focus

Following from the last bullet-point in the previous post, we decided to investigate Gobee's usage by hiring bikes ourselves and watching others do the same, and evaluate their ease of use, and other factors such as vandalism that can affect the effectiveness of such sharing systems.

Hong Kong is falling behind other Asian cities in developing its sharing economy amid the government’s lack of meaningful dialogue with major companies in this sector and the inadequate support for local start-ups.

Bike.jpg Sharingecon.png

The organiser of one group, museum director Zhuang Ji said:

“new cities” spawned in the past decade as a result of China’s rapid urbanisation were more affected by the shared bike plague because their city planners had only designed road networks for the benefit of car drivers. - SCMP [2]

SMART

S - specific
M - measurable
A - achievable
R - realistic
T - timely

- Gobee bike rent from outside Chung MTR station during the research time allocated on Wednesday evening for 1 hour. We will video the process of renting the bikes to document the difficulty of the process.
- Take a tally of how many rentals are made from Tiu Keng Leng MTR station over a 30 minute time period on Wednesday evening. Note the number of Bike deposit locations are situated within close proximity of the high-traffic MTR stations.

Material/Resources

Bike-hk.png

Ethnographic Results

We found out that:

Components - there were many abandoned bikes in random places.
Characteristics - messy, takes up lots of space, wasteful.
Challenges - weather, paths, drop zones/bike parking slots.
Characters - cyclists, locals, tourists.

What are the social and economic issues with bike sharing in Hong Kong?

Observations

Bike19.jpg

Cyclists are forced to share the road with automobiles - because of this, space is limited causing overlap on pedestrian crossings and other junctions.

Jogging.jpg Signjog.jpg Bikepath.jpg

In parks and public gardens jogging paths have been implemented. With no support or access for cyclists or pedestrians. Unlike the UK where bike lanes are a standard.

Nocycling.jpg

Signs and notices are prevalent in and around public spaces notifying the public that riding bicycles are not allowed to be ridden. Another contrast to the UK.

Gobeenobike.png Gobeenobike2.png

Observations taken from bike sharing app Gobee.bike shows that no available pick-up points are available on Hong Kong island. The only location we found with a cycle path was in Tiu Keng Leng by the HKDI.

Bikeoverflow.jpg

Even though the sharing economy model hasn't been fully implemented we have noticed already there is a over-flow of bike in the drop zones.

Bikerental.jpg Bikerental2.jpg Bikerental3.jpg Bikerental4.jpg Bikerental5.jpg Bikerental6.jpg Bikerental7.jpg

Evaluation


Bike sharing in Hong Kong

Pros Cons
Lots of bikes available. Cycling is considered as part of entertainment, not to get from A to B. - While the government promotes cycling as a healthy weekend activity in the New Territories, where 218km of cycle tracks have been built, it does not consider it to be a form of transportation.
Health benefits. Many places prohibit cyclists, see pictures...
No need to store a bike at home. For the few people who cycle to work, there are no showers or even spaces provided to park their bikes, meaning bikes are abandoned in random places blocking pathways for pedestrians.
Lower CO2 emissions. Negative environmental impact of manufacture and abandonment of thousands of bikes.
Many bikes in disrepair.
No infrastructure for cycling around Hong Kong means that it is dangerous to cycle on the busy roads.
Weather conditions may make cycling difficult.

If bike sharing became more common in Hong Kong

Pros Cons
Reduced traffic / CO2 Emissions Less bikes available.
New ways of exploring the city for tourists. Overcrowded spaces and excess bikes.
Promoting health. Less space for pedestrians and motor vehicles if cycling lanes are created.
New skill. Cost of land for cycle lanes (Maybe underground?)

bikechina.jpg