The availability of shared bikes has become a valued and convenient service in our country. Unfortunately, with such a service, comes illegal parking. Shared bikes are being parked indiscriminately along pedestrian pathways, staircase landings, void decks and being dumped into canals. It is unfortunate to say that such a convenient service has become an eyesore. Illegal parking, however, is very likely to continue and it’s wrong to assume it will be a passing phase. Bike sharing services is a fairly new approach to the method of transportation for the country. There are people who have yet to adjust their attitude and habits to this new convenience. The need to implement stringent laws to enforce penalties to ensure proper use of this service is essential as well as rewards to ensure continuous positive usage.
The consequences of immediate reinforcements and punishments than just mere advising can make people more willing to follow laws and regulations. Behavior or acts will likely repeat when it is entailed by certain consequences. The consequences of positive reinforcement due to a behavior can lead to that particular behavior happening again. Negative reinforcement transpires when an unpleasant experience is made to stop suddenly. Punishment suppresses and deters someone from committing unwanted behavior. It is a form of threat and a common strategy to ensure people abide by rules and regulations. Positive punishment would involve adding something that discourages the repetition of a particular behavior. Negative punishment involves the removal of a desirable stimulus after an undesirable behavior happened.
Responsibility should be shouldered by both bike sharing service providers as well as their customers in order to ensure the adherence to proper legal parking. The government body that overlooks the country’s transportation system should also actively analyze the operations of bike sharing operators and come up with the necessary laws and regulation to ensure they function responsibly. The use of punishments and rewards can yield results in deterring illegal and inconsiderate parking. The allure of incentives can be a huge source of encouragement to act responsibly in accordance with the norms of bike sharing.
There are certain steps to take in order for reinforcements and punishment to be effective when it is meted out. Laws and regulations that entails the usage of shared bikes must be clearly defined and well advised to users. Users must be well aware of what is considered illegal parking and its consequences. If the operator is able to ensure regulations are being followed, they could have the advantage of increasing their fleet as an incentive or face a reduction if they do not ensure their company and customers follow rules. The standard for the industry must be set and standardized with regards to the technology used to safeguard from indiscriminate parking and the consequences due to it.
Supermarkets have often ensured that carts are returned to docking stations due to the coin deposit customers have to make before a cart can be used. Bike users must make an additional deposit with regards to parking only ,in their account of the particular app that they are using and upon returning the bike to designated parking stations, the deposit is returned to their account and if they don’t they will lose their deposit and earn demerit points affecting future usage with all service providers. The app should be enhanced to send out messages intermittently or sound notifications when a bike is not parked after use, at designated parking lots. Negative reinforcement is applied in this situation. The cost of usage of a bike should also be continuously deducted till it is parked at designated spots.
Operators should have a reward system to encourage proper practices which can be a positive reinforcement. Rewards such as points entitling them to free usage should be awarded to responsible users. Users who inform of bikes they spotted being indiscriminately parked and even assist to return to designated areas should also be rewarded. Operators should also be fined if they are not actively ensuring proper parking of their bikes. They should face penalties such as a reduction of their fleet and suspension of license to operate which can be a negative punishment. Users should face a ban from using services from all operators when they earn a certain amount of demerit points or parking indiscriminately 3 times in a year and fines imposed. Every user should be reminded via the app about being responsible users and rewards that are provided for such behavior. Operators should also be rewarded very year and acknowledged for their achievements with the steps they have taken to care for their bikes and the proper conduct of users.
The crucial point is the method of punishment should be standardized among the operators and information about penalized and irresponsible users should be shared to ensure that due punishment is inevitable no matter which operator they hop to.