oBikes have been found in secluded Coney Island, even a hospital: Employee

Since Singapore's homegrown bike sharing initiative, oBike, launched in April, it has seen its bicycles the subject of misuse and indiscriminate parking.

In a video by Lianhe Zaobao, a reporter followed an oBike employee, technician Cai Jia Hui, for a day on his mission to return improperly-parked bicycles to their designated parking areas. 

According to Mr Cai, the company's bike repair team sets out everyday to collect the indiscriminately parked bicycles, and make relevant repairs to damaged bikes when needed. 

They are usually notified by users on the app or the authorites as to the location of these bikes, and cover more than 10 locations a day, said Mr Cai. 

After unlocking the bicycles, Mr Cai loads them onto his van. He will also take a photo of the location and send the data back to the company headquarters to notify them that the bike has been removed.

Mr Cai also revealed that he has also been to places as far-flung as Coney Island to collect a bike, and has also unexpectedly picked up another bike at a hospital.

But more often than not, the bikes are usually improperly parked at bus stops, pavements and parks, even if there are designated parking areas nearby.

Mr Cai has also picked up bikes abandoned on the road that he spotted while driving from location to location.

Apart from bikes not being returned to their parking spaces, mistreatment of bikes have also been reported, with photos and videos of damaged bikes circulated on the internet.

When it comes to bikes that have been 'used and abused', Mr Cai will first assess the damage and repair it on the spot if possible. If they are beyond repair, they will be returned to the warehouse.

Bicycles from bike-sharing initiatives found in the strangest places

oBike has taken steps to prevent the prevalent misuse of their bikes, implementing a community-policing scoring system in their app last month (April 13). 

Newly registered users would start with 100 points, with deductions made whenever a user parks a bike at an undesignated area. Rental cost will also increase, the lower the score.

At zero points, the user would not be able to use the service.

Created with good intentions, bike sharing initiatives were headed for the convenience and benefit of the community.

However, cases of misuse have instead brought inconvenience to many, cluttering public spaces and obstructing pathways, showing how irresponsible and inconsiderate some people can be. 

 

ongymm@sph.com.sg 

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