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ShareBikeSG exits S’pore, 3rd bike-sharing operator to shut in past month

SINGAPORE — ShareBikeSG is bowing out of the Singapore market just half a year after it began operations, becoming the third bicycle-sharing operator to bite the dust in the past month ahead of a strict new licensing regime.

ShareBikeSG is the latest bike-sharing operator to bow out of the Singapore market.

ShareBikeSG is the latest bike-sharing operator to bow out of the Singapore market.

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SINGAPORE — ShareBikeSG is bowing out of the Singapore market just half a year after it began operations, becoming the third bicycle-sharing operator to bite the dust in the past month ahead of a strict new licensing regime.

GBikes and oBike, which is embroiled in controversy over hefty fines and millions of dollars in deposits owed to users, announced last month that they were stopping services here.

Speaking to TODAY on Tuesday (July 3), ShareBikeSG's founder Ethan Tan, 31, said the operator stopped offering its dockless bicycle-sharing service on July 1.

It started the service in December last year and had a fleet of about 300 mountain bicycles, which were deployed in areas such as Gardens by the Bay, East Coast Park, Pasir Ris and Punggol.

Its mobile application, however, remains operational for users seeking refunds of their S$9.90 deposits.

Plans are afoot to turn the business into a point-to-point bicycle-rental service, and the operator will ask the Land Transport Authority if it can use its mobile application for this purpose, said Mr Tan.

On its exit from the dockless bicycle-sharing space, Mr Tan said the requirements under a new licensing regime to tackle indiscriminate parking were "quite difficult" to meet. For instance, the operator could not hire a team to "keep changing the app design" multiple times each month to comply with the rules.

He also pointed to the hefty fines that the authorities impose on operators for failing to clear their bicycles within a designated timeframe.

"I'm not sure this kind of rules that come out will settle the problem of people (indiscriminately) parking their bicycles," he said, adding that users should be educated.

New laws passed in March require operators offering dockless shared bicycles, personal mobility devices and power-assisted bicycles to be regulated under the new licensing scheme, which will kick in from July 7.

Under the two-year licence, operators will have to take steps to ensure that users practise responsible parking, including requiring commuters to scan a unique QR (quick-response) code at the parking spot as proof of proper parking before they can end their trip. They will also have to continuously charge users who park indiscriminately until they return their bicycles to a designated parking space.

In February, Senior Minister of State (Transport) Lam Pin Min said the authorities had collected about S$180,000 in fines and administrative fees, and issued more than 2,100 removal notices, since enforcement action began against bicycle-sharing operators last May.

ShareBikeSG is in the process of withdrawing its bicycles from the streets, Mr Tan said. "Quite a lot of bikes are missing," he added, noting that some of their locks had been damaged and components dismantled.

Some of the operator's bicycles will be available for rent at Mr Tan's bicycle-rental shop Aire MTB in Chestnut Nature Park near Bukit Panjang. The operator also has a warehouse to store its bicycles.

Moving ahead, Mr Tan said he would watch how the rules governing the bicycle-sharing market here evolve after the licensing regime kicks in. The operator will also engage in events that require point-to-point bicycle rental. "If not, I'm not sure how much (money) we are going to lose," Mr Tan said.

News of ShareBikeSG's exit comes a week after operator oBike abruptly pulled out of the Singapore market, saying it was tough to meet new rules under the licensing regime. Thousands of users were left in the lurch, with many seeking refunds of the deposits they placed with the company, which is undergoing liquidation. Four town councils have also slapped at least S$122,100 in fines on oBike.

GBikes, a smaller operator with about 3,000 rental bicycles, also announced last month that it would cease operations on the same day that the licensing framework takes effect. The company did not give the reasons for its exit.

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