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First phase of bike-sharing geo-fencing technology trials to conclude by 2019

SINGAPORE — Two days after a bill was tabled to tackle the problem of indiscriminately parked shared bicycles, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told the House that the authorities are looking at testing high-accuracy geo-fencing technology to improve tracking of errantly-parked bicycles.

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TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — Two days after a bill was tabled to tackle the problem of indiscriminately parked shared bicycles, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told the House that the authorities are looking at testing high-accuracy geo-fencing technology to improve tracking of errantly-parked bicycles.

Speaking at his ministry’s Committee of Supply debates, Dr Lam said the first phase of such trials will conclude by next year.

He was addressing concerns raised by several Members of Parliament (MPs), who rose to speak about the disamenities arising from bike-sharing, which first swept into the Republic in February last year.

On Monday, a new bill, with proposed amendments to the Parking Places Act, was tabled in Parliament.

Operators offering dockless shared bikes, personal mobility devices (PMDs) and power-assisted bicycles will be regulated under a new licensing regime, which will start accepting applications in the middle of the year.

Licences will be awarded by the fourth quarter of the year. Unlicensed operators can be fined up to S$10,000, or jailed up to six months, or both.

The new regime will also give the Land Transport Authority (LTA) more teeth to fine or sanction errant operators, such as by revoking their licences or curtailing their fleet size.

Under the proposed licensing regime, the LTA can allow an operator to grow its fleet if the firm shows success in dealing with indiscriminate parking, and utilises its fleet well. Other factors that will be taken into consideration include user demand and availability of parking spaces.

The authority will also implement geo-fencing technology by the second half of the year that requires shared bike users to scan the unique Quick Response (QR) code at designated parking locations as proof of proper parking before ending their trips.

Those who fail to do so could be charged “continuously”, the LTA added without giving further details.

There are currently around 100,000 such shared bicycles, across six operators: oBike, mobike, ofo, SG Bikes, GBikes and bikesharing.sg.

The Republic’s move follows that of China, which in August last year issued guidelines to manage and regulate the bike-sharing situation.

Under the guidelines, bike-sharing users should register under the real name. Operators are also prohibited from offering services to children under the age of 12, due to safety concerns.

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