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TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Bike-share firms struggle to check off licence requirements

Just recently, oBike shut down its Singapore operations and cited difficulties in fulfilling licence guidelines.

Bike-sharing firm oBike halted its Singapore operations, citing difficulties with fulfilling new requirements and guidelines released by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) towards dock-less bicycle sharing in Singapore. “oBike strongly believes and is committed to provide dock-less bicycle sharing service that would benefit users’ commuting and Singapore’s transportation system, however it is with regret that the new regulation measures do not favour this belief of ours,” it said.

Singapore Business Review tried to reach oBike for clarifications on the outcome of their exit, but the company has not yet responded.

However, oBike is not alone with its struggle to fulfill the LTA's requirements, as some bike-share firms have also cited difficulties and the need to shake up their operations system in order to comply with the regulator's rules.

Homegrown startup Anywheel is "in the midst of the completing the application documents" and plans to submit them this week, its strategy manager RJ Seet told Singapore Business Review. "Alike other bike-sharing providers, Anywheel has faced certain difficulties especially in meeting LTA's technical requirements," he said.

Anywheel is a local startup and RJ believes they are well-prepared and hope the LTA would give them a chance to stay and grow in Singapore.

Meanwhile, another bike-share firm, SG Bike, said it has not submitted its applications yet but will definitely be doing so before the deadline for applications. The firm currently has 1,500 bikes operating in Singapore.

It said in an online interview that SG Bike will be adopting the requirements to implement QR Code geo-fencing for bicycles and users. Under the new system, users will have to scan a QR Code after they end each trip. "The new requirements will involve changes to our existing systems and mobile application, as well as proper education and planning towards users on the new system," the firm said.

One of the requirements of the LTA involves making sure that these bike-share firms address indiscriminate parking.

Anywheel plans to address this and said they will be incurring additional cost to enhance their online management system to increase its security as well as the technical ability for effective and efficient reporting to LTA. "Additional cost will also be incurred for the increase in patrol activities to minimize indiscriminate parking of bikes," Seet said.

SG Bike, on the other hand, will be looking to work and collaborate with relevant parties to alleviate the problem of indiscriminate parking and continue to work on education of proper bike sharing behaviours to further enhance the effectiveness of this licensing regime.

"Since the launch of our operations in August 2017, SG Bike has taken a proactive approach to help deter indiscriminate parking," it said. "We introduced our in-house geostation technology to help deter against indiscriminate parking, requiring users to only park the bicycles at the designated areas. Moving forward with the licensing regime, SG Bike will continue to engage the public through multiple educational components, reaching out to our users through both online and offline platforms."

SG Bike added that they are only in selected areas with sufficient and developed bicycle facilities and infrastructures with our technologies. "We carefully look into the demand and supply of bicycles in each area before deploying more bicycles to reduce the issue of indiscriminate parking. We currently think that this figure is a comfortable number to manage and will continue expanding our services at a responsible growth rate," it added.

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