Rental bikes from the Far East expand Munich’s bicycle market – and are viewed with skepticism by local authorities

Rental bikes from the Far East expand Munich's bicycle market

As the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Bild report, so-called Obikes from Singapore are pushing the Munich bicycle market. By the end of September, two thousand bicycles will be available in the city. Foreign suppliers of rental bikes are seen with skepticism in Munich – not only by data protectionists.

Since the beginning of August, the bike sharing company Obike from Singapore has been expanding in the city of Munich. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, 350 of the yellow wheels were already standing around town in mid-August. According to the report of Die Bild, this number has expanded to 1650 bikes at the end of August. The system is similar to Call a Bike, but without a station. Citizens rent the bike by app and then park it somewhere in the business area.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich is Germany’s leading bikesharing city. MVG (Münchener Verkehrsgesellschaft, Munich Transport Company) alone currently has 1200 bicycles on offer and even wants to expand to 3200. Via its subsidiary Call a Bike, Deutsche Bahn offers 1200 wheels. And now, according to reports in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the competition from abroad is also pushing the market.

As Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, Florian Paul, Munich’s bike commissioner, sees this development “critically”. According to Paul, renting a bike is “yes, something positive”. However, it is feared that the users’ data will be accessed.

As the reports of the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Bild state, OBikes are already a nuisance in Zurich. They stand everywhere in the city or, as local media suspect, block the public bicycle racks unused. In Amsterdam, several suppliers are criticised for the same reasons.

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