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Bike-sharing services

‘Sheer number’ of Hong Kong users stalls Gobee.bike app, with fix to take weeks

Bike-sharing service says riders will be compensated with HK$50 credit worth five hours of cycling

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2017, 7:31am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2017, 10:05am

Some users of Hong Kong’s first bike-sharing service Gobee.bike will be unable to unlock bicycles with their smartphones because of a server and software upgrade that is expected to last until the end of the month.

Since Thursday, customers have been posting messages on the company’s Facebook page, complaining of the app failing to unlock bicycles.

“[I] felt extremely disappointed that such a great service was out of order [for such a] long duration,” user Patsy Lin said, adding that she had planned to enjoy a day out biking with her husband only to have the app fail on her “more than 10 times”.

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Gobee.bike was launched in Hong Kong in April and claims that 300,000 people have downloaded its app in six months to use hundreds of its bicycles across the city.

On Friday, the company posted a reply on Facebook saying it was attempting to solve the issue.

“We’re aware that some people may not be able to use the Gobee.bike app at the moment. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. Please bear with us during this time. We’ll soon have you riding our green bikes again,” the statement said.

Frequent Gobee.bike user David Chan, said he had tried to unlock eight bicycles on November 3 but kept receiving a message about a server upgrade and that service would resume soon.

“I use the bikes to go to the shops and pick up my kids from school, but I have had to just walk instead,” he said.

On Monday, the issue was still unresolved and the company gave a more detailed reply following inquiries by the Post.

A spokeswoman said its network provider experienced an outage that affected the locking system due to the “sheer number of new users across Hong Kong in recent months”.

The company was upgrading its lock system to meet the demand, a process expected to take several weeks.

“This maintenance will happen in weekly stages with the aim to have all bikes upgraded by the end of November,” the spokeswoman said.

She added that Gobee.bike would automatically credit all existing users with HK$50 worth of riding credits for the inconvenience – equivalent to five hours of cycling.

Chan said the company could have done a better job communicating with its customers as there was no mention of the issue or the status of the upgrade on its website.