oBike Apocalypse: Netizens complain about orange horde of shared bikes covering Taiwan

Netizens complain of plague of oBikes taking up scooter and car parking across Taiwan

oBikes haphazardly strewn in scooter parking. (社團爆料公社)

oBikes haphazardly strewn in scooter parking. (社團爆料公社)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A Taiwanese user of the Facebook group Breaking News Commune (社團爆料公社) posted images of dozens of bicycles in a tow yard from the Singaporean cycle-sharing firm oBike and said "It looks like many oDefeats (歐敗) are appearing in tow yards everywhere," which gained much praise from netizens who see them as a nuisance. 

Since their introduction in April of this year, the dockless bikes have expanded to 10 cities and counties across Taiwan, but may have become a victim of their own success as they have started to take up a great deal of parking space from Taiwan's beloved fleet of 13.66 million scooters. Many scooter riders are now having a hard time finding places to park and are venting their frustration on various Facebook groups showing pictures of their parking spots being stolen by the new orange Singaporean aliens.

The capital is drafting a proposal for regulating bike-renting systems to be submitted to the city council for reviews by the end of the year and implemented as soon as next year, said the Department of Transportation of Taipei City Government.


Long line of oBikes taking up the scooter parking. (Breaking News Commune)

oBike offers an alternative to the public bike-renting systems managed by local governments, such as YouBike in the Taipei metropolitan area, but the behavior of some riders has led the brand to controversies, such as occupying parking spaces for scooters, or leaving the bike in random public space or no-parking areas.

Wang Yen-chu (王湮筑), head of transportation management at DOT, said that for the moment, there is no policy regulating bike-renting systems, and that leaving the bike in scooter parking is actually legal.


oBikes taking up a car parking spot. (CNA image)

The new proposal will aim at imposing fares on the providers of private bike-renting systems for profiting from services and occupying public space, said Wang.

"The city government has negotiated with oBike. The company agreed that if their bikes are reported by citizens for parking in the wrong places, they will remove the bikes in one hour,” said Wang.


oBike parked beneath a no parking sign. (CNA image)

Unlike Taipei City, the New Taipei City government has a stricter rule. It announced on July 7 that it will ban oBikes from being parked in scooter parking spaces in 11 densely populated areas, and at bike parking lots near MRT and train stations. The areas where the ban is now in effect include Sanchong, Tucheng, Zhonghe, Yonghe, Banqiao, Xindian, Xinzhuang, Luzhou, Tamsui, Xizhi, and Linkou.

Violations will be fined and the bikes towed, said the government.