The Gobee shared bike service, based in Hong Kong, is closing in France after suffering what the company calls "massive destruction" of its fleet. Gobee, who had 2,000 bicycles in Paris and claimed around 150,000 users across the country, says 3,400 of the company's bicycles have been damaged and more than 1,000 stolen, according to The Guardian.
Gobee's problems are the latest example of the uphill battle for the "no-pier" bicycle sharing. These systems eliminate the need to search or return a bicycle on a dock or full shelf and, instead, allow passengers to leave bicycles where they want. Instead of paying at a kiosk, people can unlock their bikes and pay for the trip with a mobile application, and they do not have to go out of their way to pick it up or leave it. It is supposed to make bicycle sharing more accessible.
It is assumed that sharing without problems makes things easier, but also makes bicycles more vulnerable
One disadvantage is that bicycles are more vulnerable when they are not enclosed in a large bike rack. In turn, the sharing of bicycles without anchoring has encountered a lot of problems around the world. Representatives from a Singapore-based company pulled 42 bicycles from a river in Melbourne, Australia, late last year. Others have ended up in the trees or simply in the middle of the sidewalks and the lawn. This has provoked an understandably negative reaction from some citizens whose cities suddenly seem to drown in discarded bicycles.
And in China, where many of the largest non-docking sharing services originated, the supply of these bicycles so overwhelms the demand in some places that companies recently created a stack of surplus bicycles the size of a small building. Some of the new companies are also experiencing financial problems.
Gobee had previously resigned in Belgium because "the vandalism and damage caused to [its] the bicycle fleet reached limits that [the company] can no longer overcome." He also withdrew from two cities in northern France. However, Paris is left with some other shared bike services, and bicycle efforts without mooring continue to sprout all over the world.
"During the months of December and January, the massive destruction of our fleet has become the new entertainment for minors," the company said in a statement.