oBike (Bike sharing, the good, the bad)

I previously did a post about my experience with oBike. It has been only a few days since that post – and just a short update. I have been using oBike occasionally. Sometime, after work, during weekends, the holidays…etc.

Frankly – I have not spent a single cent on it (except for the $49 deposit, required for the use of oBike bicycles). For the past 2 weekends and holiday – there are promotions for free rides.

And seems like it will be free again to ride oBike bicycles this weekend again (read here).

Why oBike?

1) If you haven’t noticed… I reckon the number of oBike bicycles exceeds the number of Mobike and ofo bicycles. Well, I could be wrong. But from where I live, I tend to see more oBike bicycles.

I do not like to spend time looking for bicycles. This defeats the purpose of using a bicycle eg. getting from point A to B fast. The distance between point A to B are usually short – takes less than 15mins to travel using a bicycle.

2) I do not like to spend another $49 as a deposit in the Mobike App.

3) ofo bicycles are hard to find (you can’t locate an ofo bicycle using your handphone App).

4) I find that the size of the ofo bicycle a bit small for me. In the case of Mobike bicycles, I can’t raise the height of the seat. Oh yeah, I tend to raise the height of the oBike seat pretty high – makes cycling easier.

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To put it in another way, if given the choice, and if there are as many Mobike bicycles as there are oBike bicycles, and if the seats of Mobike bicycles are adjustable (can be raised or lowered) – I would definitely choose Mobike – simply because they are lighter.

Weight is the main flaw of oBike. It is heavy. And it is really tiring cycling uphill (and at some point almost impossible to cycle up).

If given the choice traveling from Point A to Point B and Point B is topographically higher than Point A, I will take the bus or MRT from Point A to Point B and cycle back from Point B to Point A (downhill)… 😛

Seems like oBike has been listening to its customers – they have introduced 1,000 new lighter bicycles on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 (read here).

 

The Problem

With the introduction of these bicycles (ofo, oBike, Mobike) – I do start to notice some problems. The ugly side of Singaporeans starts to surface.

1) People start to hoard free bicycles for their own use. I don’t know how many ofo bicycles there are, but I reckon there are 2 reasons why I seldom find ofo bicycles.

Reason 1: There ought to be less number of these ofo bicycles as compared to oBike bicycles (or even Mobike bicycles).

Reason 2: Some people have been keeping these bicycles for their own use. Eg. chain the bicycles infront of their flat. After all, people can’t locate the ofo bicycles using the ofo app and it is free to use (for now).

2) People don’t take care of ‘free’ stuff. Ok, I may be wrong – but somehow I feel that if you put a price tag on something – people tend to ‘respect’ it more and treat it better. But if it is free… people just don’t value it.

There are cases of people abusing the bicycles (esp. ofo bicycles). Painting over the frames, removing the numbers, throwing them into canals, etc.

  • Bike-sharing firm oBike to lodge police report over bicycle left in canal (read here)
  • Not 1, not 2, but 3 cases of ofo bike abuse all in a day at Serangoon (read here)
  • S’pore lady sees ruined Ofo bike, brings it home, dad fixes it. Family wins. (read here)

3) The third problem seems more widespread and problematic (harder to tackle). And that is the haphazard indiscriminate parking of these bicycles. eg. inconsiderate driver parking indiscriminately for his or her convenience.

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Although operators of bike-sharing services have imposed penalty schemes to deal with inconsiderate users, examples of rogue behaviour continue to appear.

  • Adding racks, designated zones among ideas to curb indiscriminate bike parking (read here)

Like pimples sprouting out from the face of a teenager, I am starting to see bicycles (oBike, Mobike, ofo) parked in the middle of nowhere: Next to bus stops (probably from home to bus stop to take the bus), traffic islands (between two road crossing), along pathways, just below slopes outside the HDB estate (the person probably doesn’t want to cycle up and park in HDB void deck), outside condos, etc… There are no bicycle racks or marking on the ground stating these are bicycle parking areas.

And as stated in the earlier article linked: “oBike plans to expand its fleet to between 10,000 and 20,000 bikes “in the next months”, up from 1,000 in February.”

With that many more bicycles – will there be enough ‘infrastructure’ eg. bicycle racks or designated parking areas for these new bicycles. And will the users display good etiquette and park the bicycles at these designated areas (even if it meant that cycling a few meters more, or cycling uphill….)?

Enforcing this would be even more difficult. Even existing parking areas might not have sufficient parking racks or areas and this will lead to even more ‘dumping’.

  • More bike parking zones islandwide (read here)

As it is – these bicycles are popping up in random places.

Will Singapore end up with the problems faced by China? After all, Mobike and ofo originated from China.

  • China’s Bicycle sharing WENT INSANE! (click here)

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Somehow I feel, sad to say if there is no fine or penalty, rules are hard to be enforced.

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About apenquotes

Born in 1976. Married with 2 kids (a boy and a girl). A typical Singaporean living in a 4 room flat.
This entry was posted in Bike Sharing. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to oBike (Bike sharing, the good, the bad)

  1. Will says:

    I have the impression that in an effort to go car-lite, everything and anything goes. In Jurong east, bicycle lanes are build by removing “grass area” and next to pedestrian walkway. It is accidents waiting to happen, with fast riding bicycle, ecycle next to people (think kids) walking.

    Anyway, I believe we all know the problem before it starts, bicycles will be parked anywhere, you can blame in on lazy Singaporeans or inconsiderate foreign talent.

    Are we eventually paying for the upkeep of the common area for the benefit of these companies?

    Like

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