The sight of shared bikes in almost every corner of Singapore from bus-stops to refuse areas has prompted the Government to work with the bike-sharing companies – ofo, obike and mobike – to moderate the growth of their bicycle fleets. Today, there are around 29,000 to 30,000 shared bikes offered by the three companies.
In response to concerns about the growing problem of illegally parked shared bicycles, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told Parliament on 3 July that the Government will be working with the bike-sharing firms to ensure that the bicycle population is “commensurate with the availability of public parking places”
He pointed out that the move “is to prevent excessive indiscriminate parking, as well as disamenities to the public.”
Since the beginning of the year, ofo, oBike and MoBike have concurrently rolled out their respective bike-sharing services, flooding the local market with shared bicycles. As these bicycles need not be docked at fixed stations, they are randomly and indiscriminately parked at inconsiderate users’ convenience.
To curb indiscriminate parking, bike-sharing companies are required to remove their bicycles within half a day after receiving a notice from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to remove the indiscriminately parked bicycle. They will receive a fine if they fail to do so.
Dr Lam said: “It is in their interest to cooperate with the authorities. Any public backlash may make the business model unsustainable.”
To date, the LTA has served around 1,000 notices for illegally parked bicycles. 200 of them have since been impounded. About half of the impounded bicycles have been collected by the operators.
In addition to the impound fee of $140 per bicycle, the LTA also recently introduced a $300 fine for the first offence and $500 for subsequent offences.
Dr Lam added that the LTA has been coordinating with other government agencies and the town councils to “align the approach against indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles”.
Replying to Members of Parliament Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) and Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC), Dr Lam said that the LTA is working with the National Parks Board, the Housing Development Board and the various town councils to increase the capacities of bicycle-parking lots.
The LTA has designated 34 rackless bicycle-parking zones at MRT stations, which can accommodate 1,400 bicycles, and there are plans to introduce 6,000 more bicycle racks at MRT stations and another 500 within the city by 2019.
“It is in their interest to cooperate with the authorities. Any public backlash may make the business model unsustainable.“