Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Shared-bicycle users frustrated with lack of two-wheelers, 3 months after licensing regime kicked in

SINGAPORE — Regular cyclist Nicholas Tan used to see shared bikes “everywhere” in Tampines where he lives and he rode one home from the MRT station each day. These days, it has become almost impossible for him to do so.

Some shared-bicycle users are saying it has become almost impossible to find such bikes these days, and those that are around are either badly damaged or chained with personal locks.

Some shared-bicycle users are saying it has become almost impossible to find such bikes these days, and those that are around are either badly damaged or chained with personal locks.

SINGAPORE — Regular cyclist Nicholas Tan used to see shared bikes “everywhere” in Tampines where he lives and he rode one home from the MRT station each day. These days, it has become almost impossible for him to do so.

“In the past, I would be able to see many bikes in the immediate vicinity once I came out of the MRT station, but now I really cannot find any,” the 27-year-old creative industry professional said. He now takes the bus or walks home instead.

Mr Tan is not the only one who told TODAY that it has become a hassle to find a two-wheeler since the Land Transport Authority (LTA) put in force a licensing regime in September.

The new rules, aimed at tackling indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles, placed limits on the number of bicycles each licensed operator was allowed to supply.

TODAY reported in September that after the licensing regime took effect, the total number of shared bicycles in Singapore fell from more than 100,000 to around 55,000.

However, regular cyclists noted that the ruling was not all to blame for the supply issue.

Inconsiderate users of shared bicycles have made the problem worse by hogging bikes, by securing them with personal locks or even taking them home.

Fitness enthusiast Terence Lim, 37, who works in the service industry, appreciates the convenience and health benefits that came with having easy access to shared bicycles.

The Mobike user said that such bikes give him the freedom to “ride anytime and anywhere” he wants, for example from his home in Geylang to the gym at the Singapore Sports Hub, or to his parents’ home in Bedok.

He also likes to use shared bicycles to make the 30-minute journey home from his workplace at City Hall.

From February to September this year, he reckoned that he was using shared bicycles every day, but these days, he counts himself lucky if he manages to find a working bicycle.

“Bike-sharing was a good initiative but it was killed by inconsiderate users,” he said, adding that indiscriminate parking is a major problem.

Sports photographer Lim Yong Teck, who often relied on Ofo bikes to get him to venues such as the Sports Hub, agreed.

The 29-year-old frequently finds bicycles with either missing kickstands or spoilt seats and baskets, left behind by riders who have used them roughly.

An Ofo bicycle with a damaged seat. Photo: Low Youjin/TODAY

Worse, he said, are those users who treat shared bikes as their own.

The photographer cited the example of a neighbour in his estate who has been hogging a Mobike by taking it home daily.​

A pair of Mobike bicycles chained together. Photo: Low Youjin/TODAY

When TODAY visited Yew Tee MRT Station on Thursday (Dec 27), nine out of the 14 shared bicycles in the area were secured with personal locks.

Mr Bok Chek Yang, who has been using shared bicycles since 2017, is not pleased with the present situation.

Where he used to be able to get on a shared bike and cycle home in under nine minutes, he now takes up to six minutes just to find an available bicycle.

“It's a pity that LTA’s regulations are killing bike-sharing by making it more difficult for operators to deploy more bicycles. The maximum number of bikes allowed per operator may not be sufficient in the first place."

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.