Dockless bike sharing pioneer Gobee quits France due to 'mass destruction' of its fleet
Hong Kong startup Gobee.bike, the first of a wave of Asian dockless bike-sharing services launched in Paris last year, has shut down in France after suffering mass thefts and vandalism.
"It is with great sadness that we are officially announcing to our community the termination of Gobee.bike service in France on February 24, 2018," said Gobee.bike.
"Over the months of December and January, the mass destruction of our fleet has become the new entertainment of underaged individuals," said the company, which had rolled out 2,000 bikes in Paris alone and claimed some 150,000 users across the country.
The company said that over 1,000 bikes had been stolen and nearly 3,400 damaged during its four months of operation in France, with almost 300 complaints filed to police and 6,500 repairs needed.
Gobee.bike had already ceased operations in the northern cities of Lille and Reims as well as in Italy and Brussels for the same reason.
Gobee's bright green bikes can be rented via a smartphone app for 50 euro cents (US$0.61) an hour by scanning a code on the bike to open the safety lock. Users must pay a 15-euro deposit and can then park the bike anywhere after use.
With Gobee's exit, there are only three remaining Asian bike sharing operators in France: Singapore's oBike, with about 1,800 grey-orange bikes, and Chinese firms Ofo, with about 1,000 yellow bikes, and Mobike, with several thousand red bikes.
Charles Maguin, head of the cycling group Paris en Selle (Paris in the Saddle), said Gobee's bikes had been too fragile.
User groups say the Mobikes, with their solid tires, a driveshaft rather than a chain, and solid wheel struts instead of wire spokes, appear more resilient against vandalism and heavy use.