More than 250 oBike bicycles seized for 'causing obstruction' on sidewalks of Petaling Jaya

Petaling Jaya City Council enforcement officers seizing some of the oBike bicycles parked on a sidewalk.
Petaling Jaya City Council enforcement officers seizing some of the oBike bicycles parked on a sidewalk.PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - More than 250 bicycles found on the sidewalks and streets of Petaling Jaya have been seized by the local authorities for "causing obstruction" on the sidewalks.

The bikes belong to the bicycle-sharing platform company oBike (M) Sdn Bhd. Its bike-sharing app now has more than 20,000 users who are charged RM1 for every 15 minutes. Forty per cent of the users are tertiary students.

"Another reason why the bikes were seized is because this is an unlicensed business as we did not receive any application from oBike," said Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain when contacted.

He added that it was an illegal operation in Petaling Jaya and he hopes that oBike would come forward and apply for a licence to operate its bicycle-sharing platform service.

"We are in support of this idea as it is another mode of public transportation and will benefit pedestrians in the city, but it has to be properly regulated.

"Imagine if we do not monitor or regulate it and another bicycle-sharing operator decides to start its business here as well, then things will get out of hand," he said.

Mohd Azizi further explained that there were no proper regulations written specifically for bicycle-sharing operations in Petaling Jaya but the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) was looking into it.

He was worried that the bicycles would be a nuisance to other pedestrians or road users as there were no proper stations to park the bicycles in Petaling Jaya.

oBike's marketing manager Elaine Chan said the company was aware its bicycles were being seized and was working with MBPJ to solve the issue.

"We are already in talks with them on how we can work together and I believe this is just a misunderstanding," she said, adding that there was no licences for bicycle sharing platforms at the moment.