MORE THAN 250 bicycles found on the sidewalks and streets of Petaling Jaya have been seized by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) enforcement officers citywide.
The bicycles were seized for causing obstruction.
The bikes belong to the station-less bicycle-sharing platform company oBike (M) Sdn Bhd, which aims to change short-distance transportation through the use of technology.
This platform allows users to not only have a healthy lifestyle but to provide connectivity between public transport hubs.
All users have to do to use the bicycles is download the oBike mobile app, pay, unlock the bicycle with a specific QR code given and start riding.
The bike-sharing app now has more than 20,000 users who are charged RM1 every 15 minutes, and 40% of the users comprise tertiary students.
Once the journey is completed, users can return the bicycle by parking it at any public space closest to them. This, however, has led to obstructions on the sidewalks of Petaling Jaya, resulting in the enforcement action.
“Another reason why the bikes were seized is because this is an unlicensed business as we did not receive any application from oBike,” said Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain when contacted.
He added that it was an illegal operation in Petaling Jaya and he hopes that oBike would come forward and apply to operate its bicycle sharing platform service.
“We are in support of this idea as it is another mode of public transportation and will benefit pedestrians in the city, but it has to be properly regulated.
“Imagine if we do not monitor or regulate it and another bicycle sharing operator decides to start its business here as well, then things will get out of hand,” he said.
Mohd Azizi further explained that there were no proper regulations written specifically for bicycle sharing operations in Petling Jaya but MBPJ was looking at drafting it.
He was worried that the bicycles would be a nuisance to other pedestrians or road users as there were no proper stations to park the bicycles in Petaling Jaya.
Currently, enforcement officers are still actively seizing the bicycles.
oBike’s marketing manager Elaine Chan said the company was aware its bicycles were being seized and was working with MBPJ to solve the issue.
“We are already in talks with them on how we can work together and I believe this is just a misunderstanding,” she said, adding that there was no licences for bicycle sharing platforms at the moment.
As this is a new service, there are no regulations or licences at most local councils.
Even in Subang Jaya, oBike is allowed to operate based on a letter of approval issued by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council.
“For Subang, we put in a proposal, presented our idea and then received a letter of approval to operate,” Chan said, adding that the procedures were different for other local authorities.