Gobee.bike, the free-floating bicycle sharing service, has announced that it is abandoning Rome, Milan and Turin on 15 February due to significant vandalism to its fleet.
The Hong-Kong based company has decided to leave Europe completely, only months after launching its innovative app-based service, claiming that 60 per cent of its European fleet has been vandalised, stolen and dumped in rivers.
The company, which has already left Brussels and several French cities, said that the level of damage to its bicycles rendered its European project economically unsustainable. However it has informed its more than 45,000 registered users in Europe that their remaining credit will be refunded.
Gobee works on an app-based system that allows riders to locate and use the nearest available bicycle which is unlocked by scanning a QR code. Unlike traditional bike sharing services which require users to return to a specific point, Gobee offers more freedom regarding where bicycles can be dropped off and picked up. When the destination is reached, the app suggests user-friendly areas where the bicycle can be placed. The padlock on the bicycle then locks and the Gobee.bike app charges the rider’s account based on how long the bike was in use.
Gobee leaves Rome only two months after launching in the capital, coinciding with the arrival of a cheaper free-floating bike sharing service, OBike, which remains active in the city centre despite experiencing similar problems to Gobee. OBike charges 30 cent for every 30 minutes, compared to Gobee's rate of 50 cent for 30 minutes. Obike hopes to extend its services to areas outside the centre of Rome as well as across Italy.
Photo La Repubblica
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