LTA halves number of shared bicycles to 55,500

Bicycles from bike-sharing companies in Singapore seen in Bugis on 26 June, 2018. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Bicycles from bike-sharing companies in Singapore seen in Bugis on 26 June, 2018. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

The number of shared bicycles in public places will be cut by half, even as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) imposes more stringent requirements on bicycle sharing operators.

In a news release on Friday (28 September), LTA said it will issue licences to six bicycle sharing operators that had applied for licences, for a total fleet size of 55,500 bicycles.

There are currently more than 100,000 shared bicycles in Singapore. LTA said “about half of the (shared bicycle) population is not actively used”.

Three operators were granted full licences. Chinese firms Mobike and ofo can operate 25,000 bicycles each, while Singapore firm SG Bike can operate 3,000 bicycles.

Three operators were granted sandbox licences, given their lack of experience operating in Singapore, said LTA. Anywheel and Grabcycle can each operate 1,000 bicycles, while Qiqi ZhiXiang can operate 500 bicycles.

An operator holding such a licence is subject to less stringent requirements compared with a full licence but it is only allowed to run a much smaller fleet.

A seventh operator, GBikes, did not satisfy LTA’s assessment criteria.

Among other criteria that LTA assessed applicants on were: ability to manage indiscriminate parking, fleet utilisation rate, and financial standing.

LTA also considered the overall demand for shared bikes and the availability of parking spaces.

“While bicycle-sharing services provide a convenient and healthy option for first-and-last mile journeys, rapid growth in the number of bicycles has also led to rampant indiscriminate parking of bicycles which creates safety issues and degrades our living environment,” said LTA in its news release.

“Prior to the commencement of the licensing regime, BSOs (bicycle sharing operators) expanded their fleets aggressively to gain market share. The licensing regime is intended to address these issues and ensure that BSOs operate in a responsible manner, and make considerate and efficient use of limited public spaces,” it added.

Among the requirements LTA will impose on the bicycle sharing operators are: real-time transmission of data to LTA, QR code geo-fencing, timely removal of indiscriminately parked bicycles, and banning users who repeatedly park shared bicycles indiscriminately.

Operators who fail to comply with licence conditions face fines of up to $100,000 for each act of non-compliance, reductions in fleet size, and suspension/termination of licences.

Those who run a bicycle sharing operation without a licence face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to six months’ jail.

LTA said it will regularly review the number of shared bicycles, so that the number of bicycles supports actual demand.

Licensed operators can apply to expand their fleet sizes in January and July each year.

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