“Will sharebikes overcome the resistance?”, Dutch newspaper NRC wrote last Saturday. In a test between sharebike operators, Gobike scored very well. In the article, the operators oBike, Donkey Republic, Dropbyke, Flickbike, Hello-bike and Gobike Rotterdam were tested. Gobike scored an “excellent” for the website and a “good” for the quality of the bikes, scoring the best of all operators.
Fierce debate about sharebikes
There is a fierce debate about sharebikes in Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam, in particular about the so-called “free floating” systems. These are sharebike systems that operate without fixed stations. As a result, these sharebikes use parking facilities, which are quite scarce in some places. Also, these sharebikes are not always parked as they should. Therefore, many cities wondered if such “free-floating” systems are desirable. After all, it means commercial use of (public) bicycle facilities and public space. Operators like Gobike – with fixed locations – are easier to regulate. That prevents the problems that now exist with the free-floating systems.
Prohibition or regulation?
The city of The Hague recently decided to ban sharebike operators working without fixed locations. Amsterdam will effectively do the same and will remove all free-floating sharebikes from October 20th onwards. In Rotterdam, the municipality is trying to reach an agreement with oBike to reduce the inconvenience many people experience.Leaving an oBike in certain locations may well be impossible in the near future (the square at Rotterdam Central station for example).
Although there is big debate about the “free floating” sharebikes, Arnoud van Waes (researcher at Utrecht University) is positive about the sharebikes potential in the Netherlands. He sees a positive future, once the current resistance has been overcome: “Much depends on city policy. Are they going to work with procurement contracts? How many restrictions will there be?” Surely, the current debate will make cities think hard about policies regarding sharebike operators.
Sharebike test: Six operators tested
In the sharebike test, NRC looks at six operators. Four of them – oBike, Donkey Republic, Dropbyke and Flickbike – are flee-floating systems. Two – Hello-bike and Gobike – are systems with fixed locations. NRC primarily looks at the quality of the bikes and the apps or websites. In both aspects Gobike scores high. The website gets the rating “excellent”, the bike a “good” rating. Overall, these are the best rating in the sharebike test.
You can read the article for free at the NRC website (in Dutch).