Singapore-based oBike exits Melbourne market

A row of oBikes seen beside the Yarra River near the Melbourne city centre. City of Melbourne tweeted the news that the yellow bikes would soon be less of an eyesore, acknowledging the role of individuals vandalising and abandoning bikes as a key pro
A row of oBikes seen beside the Yarra River near the Melbourne city centre. City of Melbourne tweeted the news that the yellow bikes would soon be less of an eyesore, acknowledging the role of individuals vandalising and abandoning bikes as a key problem.PHOTO: OBIKE AUSTRALIA

MELBOURNE • Singaporean-based bike sharing company oBike has opted to exit the Melbourne market as the state's Environment Protection Authority (EPA) introduces tough new rules to prevent vandalised share-bikes from being abandoned.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp was quoted on Tuesday by The Australian newspaper as saying that she had been advised the Singapore company was pulling out of the Melbourne market.

"oBike has decided to withdraw from our market here in Melbourne, and we are working very closely with them to remove oBikes from the city streets. And we recommend from this point that all people should stop using oBikes," Ms Capp was quoted as saying.

Under the new rules, the company would have been required to pay A$3,000 (S$3,040) in fines if an abandoned bike blocked a street for two hours.

City of Melbourne tweeted the news that the yellow bikes would soon be less of an eyesore, acknowledging the role of individuals vandalising and abandoning bikes as a key problem.

The company "has not told us why they are withdrawing, we're disappointed that individuals vandalised the bikes", the city council said in the Tuesday tweet. "We hope that in future if other share bike operators decide to come to Melbourne, the community will behave in a respectful way."

The city council which covers the city centre last year destroyed some three dozen oBikes after they were deemed to be "cluttering footpaths and obstructing pedestrians".

The city council which covers the city centre last year destroyed some three dozen oBikes after they were deemed to be "cluttering footpaths and obstructing pedestrians".

Dozens of bikes have been found in the city's Yarra River.

The Melbourne council, along with the city councils of Port Phillip and Yarra, last October signed an agreement with oBike to try to prevent the bikes from being dumped or blocking footpaths.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore-based oBike exits Melbourne market'. Print Edition | Subscribe