LISBON, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Lisbon town hall began to remove all bicycles belonging to the oBike share scheme on Tuesday, as it emerged the company had failed to apply for any municipal licenses.
The silver and yellow oBike bicycles began to appear on Lisbon streets in early February billed as a rival to the council's own Gira bike-share scheme. But less than a month later, the council ordered the newcomer to cease operations.
"Lisbon as a city is very open to these kinds of schemes, but when we start seeing bikes left in the middle of squares or on top of benches in parks, it shows that it's important this kind of activity is regulated," Miguel Gaspar, the town councilor for mobility, was cited by the Publico newspaper on Tuesday.
The dockless technologies, locked and unlocked by scanning a QR code with a smartphone, and payments via an App mean that the bicycles can be left anywhere.
But such flexibility can also be considered a shortcoming. The App is satisfied that the bike has been properly returned so long as the QR code has been scanned, even if the bike is dumped in the middle of the sidewalk or placed up a tree.
The Lisbon town hall says it was forced to act after receiving complaints about bikes blocking public byways and becoming eyesores.
Councillors gave oBikes a deadline to remove its bikes from Lisbon's streets by midnight on Monday. The municipal police force began confiscating leftover bikes on Tuesday.
Lisbon is not the first city where the company has run into difficulties. Launched in Singapore in early 2017, oBike operates in 24 countries and regions worldwide, but the scheme has been banned in Amsterdam and its bikes have been impounded in parts of London and in Melbourne, Australia.