SINGAPORE: The indiscriminate parking of shared bikes along corridors, at bus-stops or even in lifts may soon be a thing of the past.
The three major bike-share firms in Singapore - Ofo, oBike and MoBike - revealed on Mediacorp’s current affairs programme Talking Point that they have a proposed agreement with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and town councils to tackle this issue of indiscriminate parking.
This includes the development of a single app platform for the general public to report illegally parked bikes; a common response time among the three operators to pick up these illegally parked bikes; and the adoption of geofencing technology by the end of the year.
With geofencing, users have to park their shared bikes within a designated area or they could be slapped with a fine.
Mobike’s country manager (Singapore) Ms Sharon Meng said: “It’s really about how we manage our operations and how we use technology to solve the problems we are seeing at the moment.
“Geofencing is a part of it, and we are developing this technology in Singapore very rapidly. We’re already testing it and we’re going to get the license done very soon.”
The LTA said that it, together with NParks and the 16 town councils, "are in the process of finalising the details to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the five bicycle-sharing operators".
The operators "will be expected to abide by a common set of operating conditions and educate their riders to park in the designated zones. They will also be expected to implement measures, such as geofencing technology and public education initiatives to incentivise and inform their riders on safe riding and responsible parking".
The provision of yellow bicycle parking boxes will be expanded to more locations island-wide, the LTA added.
This new rules are expected to be announced soon.
BIKE SHARING A BLESSING AND A CURSE
The bike-sharing economy has taken off in Singapore, with a fourth operator SG Bike recently entering the fray last month, contributing to some 30,000 bikes around the island.
Bike-sharing has been both a blessing – making commutes easier – and a curse, with the indiscriminate parking.
LTA said that 278 dockless bicycles have been impounded for indiscriminate parking as of August, and most were from local firm Obike with 212 impounded bicycles, followed by China-based Mobike and Ofo.
These companies must pay about S$100 for every impounded bicycle collected.
Dr Lee Der Horng, a transport expert from the National University of Singapore, said a proper government regulatory framework has to be in place, as it would be difficult to require the operators to enforce strict rules on their own customers.
“In some Chinese cities, they have already banned certain types of bike-sharing operators. If your technological competence is not up to a certain level, they just ban your operations. That’s why this kind of regulatory framework is something we need in Singapore,” he said.
Watch this episode of Talking Point on Sept 7, 9.30pm on Mediacorp Channel 5, or the catch-up episode here.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect clarifications made by the Land Transport Authority.