Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Singaporean bike-sharing startup oBike launched its services in Taitung City, the seat of Taiwan's southeastern county of Taitung, on Saturday.
oBike, the first public bike rental system in the county, provided 500 bicycles for rent and will provide another 500 in the near future, Taitung County official Yu Ming-hsun (余明勳) said.
Many public servants or athletes have tried oBike and they thought it's good, as many have gathered in the city for a government employees sports event on the weekend, said Huang Chih-wei (黃治維), head of Xinsheng Borough of the city.
Users can use oBike services free of charge for the first two weeks of operation in Taitung, following which they pay NT$2 (US$0.066) for every 15 minutes.
Users can find the oBike in 10 locations, including Taitung Railway Station, Tiehua Music Village, Taitung County Stadium and Taitung Forest Park.
oBike launched in Singapore in January and expanded to Malaysia's Klang Valley (including Kuala Lumpur) earlier in April, according to a report on the Independent Singapore.
The bike-sharing company required a one-time deposit fee in Taiwan, only NT$1, according to Wang Yen-ting (王妍婷), contract manager of oBike Taiwan, which is much lower than MYR$109 (US$25) in Malaysia.
After the deposit is paid, the bike-sharing app shows the user where free bikes are around the city. They simply need to scan the QR Code and the number to unlock the bike.
The user, when done, parks the bike in a public location; locking it up makes the bike available for the next user.
oBike is positioning itself as an option for short distances that is "a more intelligent, convenient, and greener solution for both inter and intra city movement."
The company claims it already has "several tens of thousands" of riders using the app, according to the report.
On Friday in Hualien County in eastern Taiwan, 250 oBike bicycles were put on a 30-day trial run program on the campus of National Dong Hwa University.
Besides eastern Taiwan, oBike plans to expand to other cities and counties in Taiwan and has contacted Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Keelung City and Miaoli County, said Wang.
In the Asia Pacific, oBike has talked with local authorities in Thailand and Australia, according to Wang.
In Europe, the company has been in talks with city governments in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, according to Wang.