SINGAPORE: Bike-sharing operator oBike has appointed liquidators who will work with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on retrieving the company's bicycles.
Mr Joshua James Taylor and Mr Yit Chee Wah of FTI Consulting have been appointed as oBike’s provisional liquidators, the business advisory firm said in a press release on Thursday (Jul 5).
They will work with LTA and other vendors to ensure that oBike’s bicycles “continue to be collected and thereafter, realised in an orderly manner”.
The US-headquartered company also said that the provisional liquidators are aware of media reports on the refund of deposits requested by users.
"The provisional liquidators will be liaising with (oBike's) director and shareholder or founders regarding this issue and to discuss whether it is their intention to provide such a refund," FTI Consulting said.
In the interim, it said deposit holders may send their queries to oBike@fticonsulting.com. Further updates will be provided to deposit holders in due course, the company added.
In response to this, Mr Loy York Jiun, executive director for the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), told Channel NewsAsia that oBike had previously committed to raise funds from alternative sources, for example from their shareholders, to provide a full refund of consumers’ deposits.
"CASE will work closely with LTA to understand from the appointed liquidators if the liquidation process poses any obstacles behind oBike’s pledge to provide a full deposit refund to consumers. Consumers are advised to wait for an update from the company or the liquidators on the refund process before filing for a refund," added Mr Loy.
oBike announced last Monday that it was shutting down its Singapore operations. The company cited difficulties in meeting LTA’s new requirements, which were implemented to tackle indiscriminate parking of bicycles, as the reason for its exit.
Since then, customers have sought to get back their deposits, which adds up to S$6.3 million in total. The Consumers Association of Singapore said on Wednesday that it has received more than 1,000 complaints from oBike customers asking for a refund of their deposits.
BICYCLES LEFT UNCLEARED POST DEADLINE
On Thursday morning - a day after LTA's Jul 4 deadline for oBike to clear all its bicycles off the streets - the bicycles were still strewn all over Singapore, on pavements, at HDB blocks and near bus stops.
In an open field in Sengkang, Channel NewsAsia saw more than 170 oBike bicycles lined up in two rows. An employee working at a nearby provision shop said the bicycles were placed there three days ago, and have yet to be collected.
Over at East Coast Park, a pile of 10 oBike bicycles, some of which were damaged, were placed near a footpath.
The bicycles were also spotted in Jurong East, Marine Parade, Tampines, Chinese Garden and the central business district.
In a statement last Tuesday, oBike said it has started retrieving some of its 70,000 bicycles and is working with LTA to clear the rest from public areas.