Singapore

Town councils will discard abandoned oBikes

The recent shutdown of oBike in Singapore has left thousands of its rental bicycles strewn around the island, and town councils are looking to take action.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman of the 15 town councils run by the People's Action Party, told The Straits Times yesterday that if the bicycles are abandoned, the town councils will discard them after giving due notice.

"This is to ensure safety and safeguard the interests of our residents," he added.

He said there would be no additional cost involved as disposing of the bicycles would be part of town councils' conservancy work.

It remained unclear, however, when the oBikes - which number at least 14,000 here - would be considered as abandoned.

oBike made a surprise announcement on Monday that it was ceasing operations in Singapore, citing the difficulties it foresaw in meeting upcoming Land Transport Authority (LTA) licensing requirements.

But since the announcement, the operator has been silent on when it will remove its bikes or if it will refund the deposits of up to $49 each user has paid.

Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council chairman Zainal Sapari said it was awaiting clearer instruction from LTA before deciding what to do with the oBikes.

EXIT PLANS

The LTA said on Monday that it "will be engaging oBike on their exit plans, including the removal of shared bicycles from public places".

The authority has not provided any updates since then.

Unclaimed bicycles left in a derelict state are often sold to scrap metal dealers.

Metallon Recycling, which buys discarded bicycles for scrap metal, said the going rate was about 35 cents a kilogram.

This works out to about $5 for a bicycle weighing 15kg.

Mr Chew Leong Hai, 47, a freelance outdoor worker, had a novel suggestion.

He said: "A win-win situation can be achieved by unlocking the bikes and distributing them to the customers who have lost their deposits."

- ADDITIONALREPORTING BY LOW DE WEI

Transport