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4th bike-sharing operator targets indiscriminate parking with technology

SINGAPORE — With built-in alarms and Geostation technology, which designates virtual parking areas using radio-frequency identification (RFID), the newest entrant to the bike-sharing market here hopes to curb indiscriminate parking.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West CDC, MP for Bukit Panjang SMC and Chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council at the launch of SG Bike and its Geostation technology. Photo: SG Bike

Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West CDC, MP for Bukit Panjang SMC and Chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council at the launch of SG Bike and its Geostation technology. Photo: SG Bike

SINGAPORE — With built-in alarms and Geostation technology, which designates virtual parking areas using radio-frequency identification (RFID), the newest entrant to the bike-sharing market here hopes to curb indiscriminate parking.

SG Bike — a local start-up formed by leisure bicycle operator in East Coast and Pasir Ris, Park Cosco Recreation, and estate upgrading and town improvement company ISOTeam — launched its services on Thursday (Aug 24), becoming the fourth player after ofo, oBike and Mobike.

Currently available only in Bukit Panjang Town, SG Bike will have 300 of its bicycles available at all Housing and Development Board (HDB) blocks, bus stops, LRT and MRT stations by the end of this month. 

To target indiscriminate parking, the bikes can be found only in 305 Geostations, marked by yellow boxes, installed in designated parking areas as part of a trial with the town council.

Riders have to park at specific locations equipped with a Geostation or face a penalty charge. 

The Geostations work by utilising a device installed at designated areas and the Global Position System (GPS) on the shared bikes to identify if users have parked their bicycles in the correct zone. Besides preventing vandalism and theft, a built-in alarm will also ring when bicycles are parked indiscriminately.

“Currently, there are too many shared bicycles parked indiscriminately, blocking pathways and public facilities,” said SG Bike chief executive officer Albert Teng.

“Technology plays an important role in shaping users’ behaviour, but what is equally important is the need to educate and encourage users to have proper bike-sharing etiquette and park the bicycles at approved Geostation locations,” he added.

(Photo: SG Bike)

The company will be progressively installing Geostations in Sembawang and Nee Soon, bringing its fleet to a total of 1,000 bicycles and 2,000 Geostations in the coming weeks.

It is partnering relevant authorities, such as the Land Transport Authority (LTA), National Parks Board, town councils, and commercial operators, to mark out more suitable parking areas to be Geostations, with the aim of installing over 20,000 of them islandwide in separate phases.

Besides allowing users to unlock the bike via an app, SG Bike also allows users without smartphones to hire rides using ez-link or Nets Flashpay cards which have been linked to SG Bike accounts.

This allows a linked contactless card to be shared among different riders and acts as a bridge to give people access to a bike, said chief operating officer Sean Tay Hao Jing. 

“Unlocking bicycles using a contactless card will make it easy for riders who are not tech-savvy,” he added.

It is also working with EZ-Link to allow customers to pay for their rides in future directly from their ez-link stored value cards.

Cyclists do not have to pay a deposit fee to use the bikes, which cost S$1 for the first 30 minutes of use and S$0.03 for every minute thereafter. 

Residents of Bukit Panjang Town — where the service was launched by Mayor of North West Community Development Council Teo Ho Pin, with Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in attendance as special guest  — can get free unlimited rides for up to one month if they sign up for an SG Bike account before Sept 15.

The town council said in a separate statement that bicycles parked indiscriminately would be highlighted for removal and redeployment.

 

* The mobile application can be downloaded at www.sgbike.com.sg.

 

 

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