oBike shutters ops in Singapore, netizens start #refundmydeposit hashtag

oBike will be ceasing operations in Singapore. This was following difficulties foreseen to fulfil new requirements and guidelines released by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) towards dock-less bicycle sharing in Singapore, the company revealed in a statement. The decision however, does not affect oBike’s operation in countries outside of Singapore.

“oBike strongly believes and is committed to provide dock-less bicycle sharing service that would benefit users’ commuting and Singapore’s transportation system, however it is with regret that the new regulation measures do not favour this belief of ours,” oBike said.

The statement added that oBike in Singapore would stop operation from 25 June 2018, and all oBike users with a Super VIP membership will still be able to use oBike services in other operating countries.

“oBike would like to express its sincerest appreciation to more than 1 million users in Singapore that have supported its services and products since oBike’s launch in January 2017,” the statement added.

A spokesperson from oBike Malaysia confirmed to Marketing that the move is only applicable to Singapore and "all operations will run as per usual for countries outside of Singapore". Marketing has reached out to oBike Singapore for comment.

Following the move, oBike has copped major netizen backlash over the refunding of user deposits for their use of the service. This saw comments present on its Facebook statement on its exit being inundated with hashtags such as #refundmydeposit. The post itself garnered around 607 reactions, 868 shares and over 1,100 comments at the time of writing.

The service provider has also had a tough time with consumers with CASE revealing that from from 1 January to 25 June 2018, it had received 27 complaints against oBike Asia. Consumers mostly complained that they did not receive a refund of their deposit despite requesting for the refund several months prior.

“CASE will follow up with oBike on this matter and urge consumers with unresolved disputes to contact us for further assistance,” a CASE spokesperson said to Marketing. It added that consumers who had made payment via credit card to the bike operator within the last 120 days can consider lodging a chargeback claim with their card issuer as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, CASE told The Straits Times there oBike's competitors Ofo SG received just two complaints and three against Singapore Mobike.

Meanwhile, in March this year, Grab made a push into bike sharing services through its partnership with oBike. Called GrabCycle, the partnership coincides with the launch of GrabVentures, a new division which experiment with new products and services to “add value and improve quality of consumers living in Southeast Asia”, shared Reuben Lai, head of GrabVentures. oBike also deferred to its GrabCycle partnership with Grab for users who still wish to use its services.

In a statement to Marketing, a Grab spokesperson confirmed that it will no longer be able to offer oBike’s bicycles on the GrabCycle marketplace effective today. This is because as oBike will not have the appropriate bike-sharing license to operate in Singapore, and will also not be maintaining their fleet of bicycles.

Grab added that as a marketplace app, its promise is to enable customers to find a shared bike or a personal mobility device easily by bringing multiple personal mobility brands into the GrabCycle app. Its statement said:

With one fewer partner, we understand that our customers’ experience will be impacted.

As such, following the move, Grab will be waiving all existing GrabCycle subscription fees and deposits, and offering a four-week free trial on GrabCycle for current users to try its other bike-share partner, Anywheel.

“We are strong believers in the bicycle- and personal mobility device-sharing opportunity, and its impact on the livability of our future cities. We will continue to serve and grow GrabCycle, as we work towards our vision as the everyday app with multiple transport options and daily essential services for consumers,” the spokesperson added.