A Singaporean start-up, oBike, launched station-less bike sharing service in Bangkok earlier this month in a bid to transform the traffic-clogged city though they are facing challenges here.
Nowadays, noticeable fleet of orange bicycles can be easily found around metro, skytrain stations in Bangkok, a city where few cyclists can be seen on streets.
These orange bicycles, unlike others around the city, are of a sharing scheme started in China as they can be picked up and left anywhere.
Riders can find the bicycles, unlock the bicycles and lock them again after riding by using a mobile app and scanning a QR code on the frame.
Payment is done via credit card. To use the service at the first time, one has to pay a deposit of 899 baht (26 U.S. dollars) and the service costs about 10 baht (0.3 dollars) per 15 minutes, while oBike told Xinhua that they may adjust the fee in the future.
We launched the station-less bike sharing service here last Tuesday, Ric Ye from OBike's business expansion told Xinhua recently, adding that the service is still in a trial period here.
oBike said they have put "some, not much," bicycles along the Sukhumvit Road, a main commercial street, often congested, in Bangkok, around Chulalongkorn university and Lumpini Park, and will increase the amount of bicycles in the future according their data.
Ye said roads are narrow here, not sufficient for bicycle parking, and Bangkok is by no means a bicycle-friendly city but the severe congestion gives them a chance.
We think we still have chance in this city because there is demand here for 1 km and 2 km short distances transportation as the roads are congested, skytrains are crowed. Ye said, adding that it also acts as a greener solution for inter city movement.
You dont roll out the service, you dont have any data, it is difficult to judge whether the bike sharing scheme is feasible here, he said, adding that they are optimistic but dont expect a boom in Bangkok like the craze for bike-sharing in Chinas major cities and in Singapore.
Jerry Liu, a Chinese living in Bangkok, told Xinhua Tuesday that he was so excited that he could finally try the station-less bike-sharing, which his friends back in China have used a lot.
I tried it and I like it though the weather is hot here, Liu said,.I think they should deploy more bicycles around the city while talking with the Thai government to make it safer for people to ride as the bicycle lanes are usually occupied by motorcycles.