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Spokes fall off ill-fated bike sharing scheme in Zurich

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Spokes fall off ill-fated bike sharing scheme in Zurich
Few will be sorry to see the oBikes finally disappear. File photo: Depositphotos
09:49 CEST+02:00
Authorities in Zurich are set to help with the final removal of oBikes from the city's streets after the Singapore-based firm filed for bankruptcy.

The clunky gold and grey bicycles did not have an easy ride in Zurich.

The dockless rental bikes arrived in the city in 2017 with a fleet of 900 bicycles appearing overnight. City authorities were quick to complain and called for 400 to be removed immediately.

oBike hoped to boost numbers again in the future. But the problems continued.

As was the case in many other cities, residents complained the bicycles were clogging up city streets and eventually Zurich City Hall decided the bikes could not take up more than 10 percent of space on the city's bike stands. 

But the firm has now filed for bankruptcy with administrators called in, leaving many subscribers to the company's services out of pocket.

By August last year 50,000 people in Switzerland had downloaded the app allowing access to the bikes, while the service had 25,000 active users.

The bikes have since been pulled from cities around the world.

All of its bicycles in Zurich should have been removed by Umzug 24, the Zurich firm overseeing the bike here scheme in the city, by the end of June. Those located to date have been sold to other European cities where they have been rebranded, or they have become scrap metal. 

But the bikes' GPS systems have been out of action for months and it is unclear how many more oBikes remain scattered around Zurich.

Umzug 24 is now calling on the public to help with the final clean-up. Zurich's public works department is also coordinating with the company in a bid to get rid of the troublesome bikes for good. 

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