France’s first dockless bike-sharing program has had to shut down operations across the country after the mass destruction of its fleet. Gobee, a Hong Kong based company which launched in October 2017, have said in a statement “We hoped for the best. But we were wrong ... In 4 months, 60% of our fleet was destroyed, stolen or privatized, making the whole European project no longer sustainable”.
With France having been a hub for several bike-sharing programmes in the past, it is disappointing to see how the poor treatment of these bikes has resulted in the loss of a valuable service. Gobee cited “underaged individuals, encouraged by content broadly shared on social media” as those who were responsible for the destruction of the fleet.
How is this likely to impact the future of dockless bike sharing schemes in France?
This example also highlights the importance of civil society to the successful integration of new technologies and approaches to shared ownership. Is this a case of deeper grievances surfacing through destructive behaviour? If so, what steps are being taken to address them, and will these be adequate to enable the responsible use of shared resources in future?