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oBike considers appealing New Taipei parking restrictions

2017/07/10 19:26:06

Photo courtesy of New Taipei City government

Taipei, July 10 (CNA) Stationless bike-sharing platform oBike has said it may appeal the New Taipei Department of Transportation's recent ban on parking oBikes in public parking spaces in 11 densely-populated districts of the city.

The ban follows complaints against oBike, a Singapore-based company that began operating in Taiwan in April, that their bikes often occupy public parking spaces for motorcycles or are parked in ways that obstruct pedestrians.

The bike sharing service has a "rent anywhere, return anywhere" policy that allows users to leave oBikes anywhere after use.

As a result of the ban, 969 of the company's bikes had been towed as of Sunday. The 11 districts are Tamsui, Luzhou, Sanchong, Yonghe, Zhonghe, Banqiao, Tucheng, Xinzhuang, Xindian, Linkou and Xizhi, mostly suburban areas of Taipei.

Wang Yen-ting (王妍婷), oBike Taiwan's general manager, said her company promotes environmentally friendly green transportation and does not take a dime of the government's money.

Under existing law, she contended, oBikes can be parked in parking spaces and that criticizing oBike for occupying parking areas is wrong.

Wang questioned whether New Taipei's order to ban the parking of the company's bicycles in public spaces is lawful and said she will consult with lawyers to decide if the company will file an administrative appeal against the ban in the Executive Yuan, the Liberty Times reported on Sunday.

She also said the company is unlikely to reclaim the towed bikes for the time being.

New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said Monday that the city may establish rules on the parking of oBikes and other green transportation vehicles.

The city's Transportation Department said it chose the areas where the ban is being imposed because they are densely populated and scooter and bike parking spaces are in short supply.

For-profit companies' rental bikes are no longer allowed to occupy public parking spaces in these areas, it said, but noted that it may review and plan the addition of more bicycle parking spaces in the future to encourage green transportation.

(By Sunrise Huang and CNA intern Logan Sander)