Grab removes oBike from GrabCycle as homegrown bike-sharing startup pulls out of Singapore

The bike-sharing startup hasn’t made it clear about when and how users in Singapore could reclaim their deposit.

Image from Grab's Facebook page. Modified by KrASIA.

Grab has removed oBike from its bike-sharing platform GrabCycle as the bike-sharing startup ceased operations in Singapore on Monday.

oBike stopped its services in its home country due to the difficulties in meeting new regulations regarding indiscriminate parking imposed by Land Transport Authority. The startup thinks the new regulation will make its business model unviable and will cause future losses.

While oBike stated in a Facebook post that users will be able to access its services using GrabCycle, Grab refuted, as its platform will no longer provide oBike services.

“We will no longer be able to offer oBike’s bicycles on the GrabCycle marketplace effective today, as oBike will not have the appropriate bike-sharing license to operate in Singapore, nor will they be maintaining their fleet of bicycles,” said Grab in a statement.

Grab launched its bike-sharing platform GrabCycle in March, providing bikes and scooters from four operators, oBike, GBikes, Anywheel and PopScoot. The ride-hailing giant had invested in oBike’s Series B round last August and reached a partnership in January this year with its bike-sharing investee to integrate GrabPay into the oBike app.

 

New licensing regime

Before oBike, GBikes that had as much as 3k bicycles was the first to announce its plan to pull out of the city-state. Started in May 2017, GBikes stated it will cease operations on July 7 when the new licensing regime kicks in.

The new regulation requires bike-sharing firms to ask users to park bikes at designated locations when ending a ride to curb messy parking. Bike-sharing companies could apply for a license to operate in the country from March 8 to July 7 and oBike competitors Anywhere, SG Bike, as well as China’s Mobile and Ofo, have all suggested that they will apply for the license.

 

Retreat & Refund

oBike operates in over 70 cities in 20 countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Germany and the UK. The startup decided to withdraw from the Melbourne market also due to strict new rules. Companies that operate in the Australia city need to pay costly fines if their abandoned bikes block a street.

The bike-sharing startup hasn’t made it clear about when and how the users in Singapore could reclaim their deposit. It was criticized for turning some of its users’ deposit into Super VIP membership subscriptions without users’ consent. Super VIP members will be able to use the company’s services in overseas markets where oBike continues to operate. That means these members may not be able to get back their deposit.

 

Editor: Jason Zheng