oBike apocalypse ends as Taipei scraps last of derelict bikes

Last of oBikes plaguing Taipei to be eliminated by end of July

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Discarded oBikes. (Photos from Facebook group 爆料公社)

Discarded oBikes. (Photos from Facebook group 爆料公社)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After much outcry by motorists, city officials, and residents over piles of oBikes strewn about when the bicycle-share craze was at its peak, the last of the abandoned bikes are to be cleared off the streets of Taipei by the end of this month, a year after the company behind them went belly up.

Chen Shyue-tair (陳學台), head of Taipei Department of Transportation on Thursday (July 11) announced that 7,000 oBikes being stored in impound lots are to be dismantled and sold for scrap metal, reported CNA. The last of the remaining derelict bikes are to be disposed of by the end of July, and the city pledges to make every effort to recover all outstanding impound and custody fees.

The first trial run of oBikes was launched in Taipei in May of 2017. Eventually, a total of 8,000 oBikes were unleashed on the streets of Taipei.

However, the Singapore-registered oBike filed for insolvency and ceased operations in June of 2018. The company's subsidiary in Taiwan, Aozhi Network Technology Co., announced it was laying off all its employees in October of 2018 and left thousands of bicycles scattered about the city.

Chen said that almost all the remaining oBikes have been hauled away, with only a handful still unaccounted for. Of the nearly 7,000 oBikes in the city's impound lots, and Chen said that most should be dismantled and sold for scrap metal by the end of this month.

The oBikes cannot be sold as used bikes because their unique parts cannot be found in the Taiwan market, according to Chen. The city is also concerned that if the bikes were sold, others would mistake them for sharable bikes.

Taipei City Parking Management & Development Office Chief Secretary Chung Chieh-pu (仲杰補) said that there are currently 6,926 oBikes in the impound lots, reported CNA. Chieh said that each one can be sold for NT$70 (US$2.25).

Currently, Aozhi Network Technology Co. has accrued NT$18.57 million in impound and custody fees. Chen said that the city is making every effort to pursue and enforce the overdue fees.