oBike fined RM17k by MBPJ, to operate only in Subang

A card with instructions on how to use the oBike service is attached to every bike. — filepic

BICYCLE-sharing platform company oBike (M) Sdn Bhd has been fined RM17,000 by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) for being an obstruction in public places.

The company will also have to amend the concept of its business module by having special stations to park the bikes if it wishes to continue operating after paying the fine, which was issued following the seizure of 261 yellow bicycles that were parked around the SS2 area last week.

MBPJ will issue the fine as provided under the Street, Drainage and Building Act Section 46 (1) (d) for obstruction in public places.

Selangor Transportation Committee chairman Datuk Teng Chang Khim said the company did not have a licence to operate in Petaling Jaya.

He added that the company also had to remove all its existing bicycles in Selangor except in Subang Jaya.

“Subang Jaya will introduce a pilot project for the bicycle-sharing concept in October,” he added.

The oBike bike-sharing service was introduced in April in selected areas. —filepics
The oBike bike-sharing service was introduced in April in selected areas. —filepics

Teng said Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) had drawn up guidelines for the system, which might be adopted by other councils if it was successful.

“The station-less concept is too messy based on our observations overseas. So we have told them that they will need to use a station concept to ensure a neat and tidy parking area,” said Teng.

He said they had looked at a docking system introduced by Taipei, in Taiwan, but believed it was too expensive to maintain. It was estimated that RM10mil would be required for the docking system.

These details were discussed during a special meeting between oBike, MPSJ and MBPJ that was chaired by Teng and attended by Damansara Utama assemblyman Yeo Bee Yin.

In a press conference following the meeting, Teng said the state was supportive of the bicycle-sharing idea but it was necessary to follow the laws set by the council and the state.

“The company can continue working with MPSJ but will have to settle the fine. However, they can appeal to lower the fine as per the rules and standard operating procedure,” he added.

Yeo said there had to be a balance between providing a service to the public as well as proper use for public spaces.

MBPJ enforcement officers seizing oBike bicycles found by the roadside and sidewalks throughout the city.

Meanwhile, oBike business development manager Ian Goh said they would appeal on the fine as soon as possible to retrieve the bicycles.

He said the company was in the midst of working with the authorities on operations and regulations for the bicycle-sharing platform.

“Until we have aligned and finalised the plan, we will not be able to disclose details at the moment,” he added.

Teng said the state was looking at creating 1,000km of bicycle lanes in Selangor in the next five years.

“If we want people to use their own bicycles and bicycle sharing platforms we need to regulate and allow companies like oBike to run their businesses,” he added.

Meanwhile, MBPJ has halted its plans to draft out guidelines for bicycle sharing platform oBike to operate legally in the city.

Currently, there is no such business licence to give out to date as this is the first of its kind operating here.

“At the moment oBike cannot operate until the regulations are drafted out and we will wait for the guidelines from MPSJ as the state has appointed them to draft it,” said MBPJ corporate communications assistant director Abdul Hakim Khiruddin.

He said there was no definite time line as to when the regulations would be completed and no oBikes were allowed to be parked in the city.

MBPJ’s Licensing Department will also issue summonses to the company but the final figure was not known yet as they were still sorting it out.

StarMetro earlier reported that MBPJ seized over 250 bicycles belonging to oBike (M) Sdn Bhd since Aug 29 due to being an obstruction to traffic and was not a licenced operation.

Abdul Hakim said MBPJ welcomed the bicycle sharing company to operate in the city as this was in line with their green and sustainable city vision but they could not do so until the state gave the green light.

MBPJ also wanted to properly regulate and license the business to ensure accountability and that it operated in a manner that did not inconvenience the public.

“If we still see the oBike bicycles parked around the city, our enforcement officers will not hesitate to take them away as they are not allowed to operate in the city for now,” he said.

oBike could not be reached for comments at press time.

According to their website, users should return and lock the bicycles at any designated oBike parking zone, public bicycle or motorcycle parking spaces.

Users are also advised not to park in private places where others can’t find it, or cause an obstruction at private areas like driveways, for example.

In Petaling Jaya, however, there are not many public bicycle or motorcycle parking facilities.

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