Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Is The City Of Greensboro Giving Tax Dollars To China?

Bicycles are great. I wish I were still physically able to ride bicycles. And no one is arguing that lots of people love bike sharing. Bike sharing grows in popularity with every passing day. But on March 21, 2017 Scott Cendrowski of Fortune wrote:

"But economists say there’s a reason the phenomenon hasn't come to the U.S.: it doesn’t make any financial sense for the bike companies."

He points out in his article, Wait, Chinese Bike-Sharing Doesn’t Make Any Sense:

"Prices are so low that the bike-sharing companies are either unprofitable, or carry razor-thin margins. Mobike and Ofo, the two largest companies, charge between 0.5 yuan to 1 yuan (7 cents to 14 cents) for 30 minutes. And those bikes can be expensive. Mobike's premium bikes reportedly cost 3,000 yuan ($435) to produce last year. It says the cost has since fallen. But if you assume each bike is used five to eight times a day, which is unlikely, as many end up far away from popular destinations, it takes more than a year to recoup costs. Ofo has said its simpler bikes are 250 yuan ($36). Even then it takes several months to recoup costs, which increasingly include paying employees to haul bikes back to busy intersections, find abandoned bikes, fight theft, and comply with new regulations sprouting up because officials in Beijing and other cities are annoyed at hordes of bikes blocking sidewalks."

So how is it UNCG and the City of Greensboro announced just today, they are partnering with Lime Bike, a company that claims to be American but refuses to name all its partners, to bring bike sharing to Greensboro?

"A startup called LimeBike has raised $12 million in venture funding to make Chinese-style bike sharing mainstream in the U.S. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, joined by IDG Ventures, DCM Ventures and other investors who declined to be named."

Well, prices are higher in Greensboro. Higher than renting cars.


"According to LimeBike co-founders, chairman Brad Bao and CEO Toby Sun, the startup is working with the Bay Area bicycle coalitions, and other advocacy groups, to forge strong relationships with different cyclist communities across the U.S."

But why are they keeping the names of their partners a secret? Is it because these partners are Chinese companies that are being subsidized with corporate welfare from American cities like Greensboro, or are they perhaps criminals? Worse yet, are these unnamed partners supporters of terrorists?

Are the City of Greensboro and UNCG laundering taxpayer dollars to terrorists?

Are some of the unnamed partners connected somehow to the City of Greensboro or UNCG? That alone, my friends, would make it a felony.

And why did Brad Bao and Toby Sun of Lime Bike need help from UNCG and the City of Greensboro if their idea actually makes money?

I think you know the answers.

Come on Greensboro City Council, how many times have you been caught doing business with people who turned out not to be who you thought they were? Do the taxpayers not deserve to know who all the owners of Lime Bike happen to be? After all, you are giving them access to our money.

Update: No City Tax Dollars have been paid to Lime Bike but as Lime Bikes are now turning up more often, and are often found to be blocking sidewalks people are getting curious.  The good news is, in If I Were Mayor Of Greensboro: Part 35 I offer a solution to the Lime Bike parking problem.