Hong Kong-based bike startup, Gobee.bike, announced on Saturday that it was closing down its French operation after more than 3000 bikes were “severely damaged”.
The company had already stopped services in the northern French cities of Lille and Reims as well as Brussels for this reason but hoped to keep operating in Paris and Lyon since "the number of usage was increasing".
However, four months after starting their operation in France, the company recorded more than 3000 damaged bikes nationwide, more than a thousand stolen, 6500 repairs needed, and 280 complaints to the police, said a statement.
“The mass destruction of our fleet has become the new pastime of minors who are encouraged by social media to commit such acts,” said the company.
The bright green bikes could be geo-located via an app that unlocked the bike for the user and allowed them to ride for 50 cents an hour.
For a €15 deposit, the user could leave the bike anywhere without the traditional chain-lock system.
Gobee.bike said, the “critical situation” did not make their project “viable” in France and left them no other choice but to shut down nationwide.
Despite the vandalism problems, the company still believes it's business model is a good one: in the four months it was available, the bike service gathered a community of more than 150000 loyal riders across Europe.
In France, users rode the bikes for an average of 12 minutes and travelled 448 121 kilometres since the service started.
In the past year, three other bike startups like Gobee entered the French market: Ofo with yellow bikes, Obike with orange ones and Mobike with orange and grey bikes.
What will become of the neon green bikes?
Gobee.bikes won’t be throwing its investment to waste. The company is donating its bikes in Paris and Lyon to recycle and reuse organisations that will give the bikes a second life.