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Yellow share bikes spreading across Sydney

by August 25, 2017 General
Bike sharing company oBike says usage in Sydney is doubling each week.

Bike sharing company oBike says usage in Sydney is doubling each week.

The company rolling out the yellow ride-share bikes across inner Sydney says while there were some “teething issues” in Melbourne the bicycles have been embraced in the harbour city due to the warmer weather.

More than 500 yellow “dockless” bikes appeared in Sydney 10 days ago following oBike’s troubled introduction into Melbourne in mid-June.

oBike says while it’s too early to release definitive Sydney usage data, rider numbers are doubling each week “mainly due to the warmer weather”.

The bikes are fitted with a GPS enabled lock linked to a user’s smartphone, meaning riders can leave them wherever they want after use.

They don’t have to be returned to a dock, which has been controversial in Melbourne, with the lord mayor describing them as “clutter” after several were found in trees, on train tracks and even in the Yarra River.

“These are teething issues but we take them seriously and have already increased our resources in the maintenance and service team to address this local challenge more efficiently,” an oBike spokesman told AAP.

The company, which also operates oBikes in Europe and Asia, says in Australia helmets going missing is a big problem.

“One of the challenges that took us by surprise was the frequent theft of our helmets,” the oBike spokesman said, adding some 40 per cent were vanishing.

For now, the company is just replacing them, but in the long run will look to introduce “lockable helmets”.

The company, headquartered in Singapore, says Brisbane and the Gold Coast are the next Australian cities on their radar.

In Melbourne, 90 per cent of the 1000 bikes have been used at least once. Each bike has been used, on an average, for 10 trips.

The NSW government is monitoring the dockless scheme to see if it creates any clutter on Sydney streets.

“Transport for NSW is currently monitoring the rollout and will work with bike share operators and relevant stakeholders to address issues that may arise,” a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Andrew Constance told AAP.