Bike-sharing service coming to Singapore

CHARLES LEE | 6th Dec 2016 | NEWS

For those who visited Taipei before, the concept of bicycle sharing is unlikely to be unfamiliar to you. The capital of Taiwan boasts more than 7,000 bikes that are available for rent from any of the 222 self-service, card-activated slots. Very soon, you need not have to travel overseas to get a taste of what bike-sharing at the national level is like. MoBike, the company that runs bicycle-sharing programs in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, is looking to expand its operations to Singapore by 2017.

According to the Shanghai-based startup, the stationless bicycle-sharing service will enable users to drop off their rented bicycles at any public bike parking space, as opposed to the requirement to return the bikes at designated docking stations.

MoBike, which is backed by China’s Tencent Holdings and Singapore’s Vertex Venture Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek, revealed to The Straits Times that it has been in talks with universities and polytechnics in Singapore to start the service in the campuses. Mobike’s Singapore General Manager Mr Florian Bohnert told The Straits Times: “Students can cycle from classroom to classroom within the campus, or from the campus to a nearby MRT station, or even to a neighbouring town.”

MoBike’s bicycles are designed with a special rear-wheel lock, which users can only unlock with a mobile app. Each bicycle can be tracked by a Global Positiong System, and users can use the same mobile app to locate which MoBike bicycle is near to them.

Mr Bohnert said that the pricing for the rental of the bicycle is still a works-in-progress. In China, it costs one yuan (S$0.20) to rent a MoBike bicycle for 30 minutes. Registered users will have to foot a refundable security deposit of 299 yuan (S$61.40)

Mr Bohnert added that the rental service offered by MoBike can reinforce the Singapore government’s campaign of adopting cycling as the first- and last-mile journey. He said: “The idea is to complement Singapore’s very efficient public transportation system. People can cycle from home to the closest bus (stop) or MRT station, or from the MRT station to the office.” MoBike is planning to work with the Housing and Development Board to explore how its bicycles can be parked at void decks. It is also planning to work with office building owners to do likewise.

Mr Bohnert indicated that MoBike has expressed interest in the Land Transport Authority’s tender to operate a bicycle-sharing scheme in the Jurong Lake District.