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LTA’s bike-sharing scheme shelved as private players enter market

SINGAPORE — Plans for a government-funded bike-sharing system in Jurong Lake District have been scrapped amid the recent influx of private operators.

LTA’s bike-sharing scheme shelved as private players enter market

Artist's impression of Jurong Lake District. Photo: Urban Redevelopment Authority

SINGAPORE — Plans for a government-funded bike-sharing system in Jurong Lake District have been scrapped amid the recent influx of private operators.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it decided not to award a tender for a 1,000-bike system it called in July last year, given that these private operators have plans to roll out “many thousands” of bicycles to more locations in the next year or two.

“The ongoing plans by the private dockless bicycle-sharing system operators have obviated the need for a Government-run system backed by Government grants,” it said in a press release. “LTA will continue to monitor developments in the bicycle-sharing landscape, and introduce new plans if necessary.”

The tender to build, own, operate and maintain the system with 100 docking stations closed in December last year with 13 bids from local and foreign entities proposing both docked and dockless systems, the LTA revealed on Friday. Their price proposals will be unopened, it added.

Since the beginning of this year, fully privately-funded dockless bicycle-sharing services have sprouted here.

ofo and Mobike — both players headquartered in China — and homegrown firm oBike are among the firms to offer stationless bike-sharing models.

Riders can unlock Mobike and oBike bikes using QR codes on their respective mobile apps, while ofo sends users a unique four-digit code once they have booked their rides.

oBike’s vehicles can be rented at S$1 for 30 minutes, while ofo bikes are available at S$0.50 per trip. Mobike, which officially launched on Tuesday, is offering a promotional rental rate of 50 cents for 30 minutes’ use — half the standard rate. The firm was unable to say when the promotion will end.

In its release, the LTA also cautioned riders against indiscriminate parking of bicycles, and encouraged operators to “put in place penalties and incentives” to encourage proper behaviour.

The Government will also take action against indiscriminately parked bikes, such as by impounding the vehicles and imposing “heavy fines” on operators or the culprits involved, it added.

“(Operators) should remove any indiscriminately parked bicycles or derelict bicycles expeditiously, whenever alerted by the public or any government agencies. Strict enforcement action will be taken against all indiscriminately parked bicycles,” the LTA said.

A bike-sharing pilot was first mooted in 2013 to support the Government’s vision to improve first-and-last-mile connectivity and encourage cycling for short trips.

Jurong Lake District was chosen for the pilot because it is set to be re-developed into Singapore’s second Central Business District. Just last year, the Government also said it was mulling expanding the scheme to Tampines-Pasir Ris, as well as Marina Bay with the city centre.

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