oBike: A Hit or Miss?

SEMENYIH, 4 DEC: Notice the fleet of yellow bikes all around the campus’s grounds? We bet you did! In fact, what a relief for most of us as it means that one no longer has to walk for long distances anymore!

 

What is oBike?

oBike is a business venture, which started since February 2017 in Singapore, that eventually expanded across a total of 12 countries within a short span of time, such as, Australia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Sweden to name a few.

It is a dock-less bicycle-sharing scheme where bikers can conveniently unlock the bikes using the app on their phones.

Furthermore, bikes can also be locked and parked conveniently at any designated oBike parking zone, public bicycle, or motorcycle parking spaces once their ride is done.

 

How to use oBike?

A first-time user must download the oBike app on to their smartphones, where it can be available on Google Play and App Store.

After that, bikers must pay a deposit upfront of RM60 for adults and RM29 for students.

This deposit is entirely refundable if you ever decide to cancel oBike.

Then, scan the barcode on the Bike to begin your journey- it is as simple as that!

Once bikers are done with their rides, bikes must be parked at a designated parking zone, and locked manually using the built-in Bluetooth technology.

 

The Rates…

…vary as they depend on your credit limit.

In fact, 100 credits will be entitled to a user who registered as a student, and that credits can also be gained and reduced depending on users’ behaviours.

Here are the lists of penalties and rewards when using the oBike:

Bad behavior points
1. Parking at non-designated bike parking areas. -20
2. Forget to lock, but a bike is not lost -20
3. Violation of traffic rules Reduce to 0
4. Add private lock Reduce to 0
5. Losing a bike Reduce to 0
6. Moving a bike illegally Reduce to 0

 

Good behavior points
1. A normal ride +1
2. Report a broken bike +2
3. Report an illegally parked bike at non-designated bike parking areas +3
4. Share ride to Facebook for the first time +2

 

Depending on your credits, your rates will be as follows:

Credit Pricing

(RM/30Mins)

100~ 0.50
80~99 1.00
60~79 5.00
0~59 10.00

Source: oBike’s Official Webpage

 

UNMC Speaks: The Problems

IGNITE had the opportunity to ask UNMC students on their thoughts of oBike- whether they used it or not, or had any issues and recommendations to offer.

The majority had commended the University for introducing the oBike, where it had been cited for:

a) easier and quicker commute to classes,

b) the chance to cycle as an exercise, or an activity to enjoy with friends,

c) stress relief

d) its role in protecting the environment, and

e) its affordability and convenient usage.

Still, since its introduction, oBike seemed not to have gained an all-positive-hype among the students.

Firstly, the most occurring complaint would be about bikes ending up at the J Blocks, leaving close to zero bikes in other designated parking spaces around campus.

This was because, as students living at the J Block claimed, that many of them could not ride the bikes back up the steep hill, so they opted to leave the bikes at their residential halls instead- but that was not the only problem.

Those lived in Univillage and would like to use the bikes were unable to do so as Univillage had no designated parking spaces, forcing students to leave them while letting their credits get cut off.

Next, according to one student we interviewed, there were also technical issues found with the bikes.

It is inconvenient- it gets stuck on the road when the credit finishes, littering public property.

– Anonymous

Another student stated,

Some [of the bikes] don’t unlock easily and Malaysia is a hilly land so the ups and downs don’t really work with the bikes.

– Ali Wail

Recommendations for Improvement

The causes of these technical issues are of course unknown to us. We can only hope that the people in charge of oBike would run tests or inspections to figure out the problem, improve it and maintain it regularly for them to be solved.

The students we interviewed also recommended some ideas on how to improve the oBike system on campus:

I think they could try and set rules about how many bikes can be at the J Blocks, old halls or any specific area of campus at any given time, so that all the students have equal access to the bikes.

-Anonymous

I think it could be improved by having people to take the bikes back up from J Block uphill so other people can use it.

–Khairina binti Khairul Nizam

The system can be improved by introducing an easier access to the bikes, and a more user-friendly software.

-Ali Wail

 

Written by Rzan Mohamed and Dona Shehani

Featured image taken from UNMC’s Official Facebook page

"They say that great minds think alike, but also fools seldom differ"

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