I just recently learned about the oBike sharing system. I think it originates in Singapore and has been used there for a while. Similar systems are tried in China I believe. Never noticed the bikes in Taipei, but apparently they have been here since earlier this year. So I downloaded their app, reluctantly entered my credit card info and looked for the location of the bike nearest to me on the app’s map. I couldn’t find the first two bikes no matter how hard I tried. Then I went to Taiwan University and found two (different models) and tried to unlock them. Stupid as I am I did not press “Allow” when asked if the app could use the camera. You need to allow that to enable the scanning of the QR code. Alternatively you can key in the number that is written on the bike near the pedals. First few tries the lock didn’t unlock. Then finally it worked.
So I did a little comparison with a uBike and I think right now the uBike wins in most aspects. Better quality overall, working brakes, gears, higher saddle adjustment, bigger frame and wheels. I like the idea of leaving the bike where ever I want. But problem is, at least in downtown Taipei, you have to look hard to even find a designated parking space for bikes. Then other bicyclists will push that obike around, damaging it etc. What if someone moves it away and the latest rider (you) is blamed for it? Also the brakes not working on two different bikes was kind of alarming. I wanted to report those bikes, but didn’t find an easy way to do so online. The website is not in English… The app is. The app is actually quite easy to use.
My advice to oBike is: Provide bikes that are of similar or better quality than uBike, then we are talking. Until then I probably will use those bikes only where uBikes are not available. Like in Hualien and Taitung. But then, there might be rental shops that also offer better-quality bikes like Giant. Quality is always the key.
Here is my experience on camera: