Bike share firm Gobee quits Brussels, Lille over vandalism

PARIS, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Asian bike share operator is pulling its bicycles out of Brussels and the French cities of Lille and Reims because of vandalism, the company said on Wednesday.

The firm, created by a French entrepreneur but based in Hong Kong, said it was quitting just months after launching in those cities because 80 to 90 percent of its bike fleet had been stolen or damaged by vandals in recent weeks.

“We must face up the the sad reality that a minority bent on destruction does not share our vision on mobility, and we can no longer support the financial and moral costs of the repairs,” Gobee said in a statement. said it would continue operating its bright-green bikes in Paris - where it is the leading dockless bike share operator ahead of China’s Ofo and Singapore’s oBike - as well as in Lyon and in the Italian cities of Florence, Turin and Rome.

It said that theft and vandalism affected one to six percent of its bikes in these cities.

Gobee, which said it had not experienced vandalism in Hong Kong, has tripled its capacity to repair bikes and is working with new partners for maintenance. It will also develop more robust bikes. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Brian Love)