Parliament: Government to moderate growth of shared bicycles; Population around 30,000 currently

ofo bicycles in Pasir Ris Park.
ofo bicycles in Pasir Ris Park.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

SINGAPORE - Bike-sharing companies will have to moderate the growth of two-wheelers, which were introduced only this year (2017) but have soared to a population of between 29,000 and 30,000 currently.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament on Monday (July 3) that the Government will work with these companies to ensure the population of bicycles is "commensurate with the availability of public parking places".

"This is to prevent excessive indiscriminate parking, as well as disamenities to the public," he said.

Three companies - ofo, oBike and MoBike - flooded the market with their bicycles earlier this year. While they offer convenience and can be parked anywhere as they operate on a dockless system, the bicycles have been subject to vandalism and users have been indiscriminately parking the bicycles.

Dr Lam said that Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been coordinating with other government agencies and Town Councils to "align the approach against indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles".

Replying to questions from MPs Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) and Ang Wei Neng ( Jurong GRC), Dr Lam said there are three elements in the Government's approach to tackling the problem.

The first is to ensure an adequate supply of parking spaces. The LTA is working with NParks, HDB and Town Councils to increase bicycle parking capacity within their premises, he said.

The LTA has already designated 34 rackless bicycle parking zones at MRT stations, which can accommodate 1,400 bicycles. Dr Lam said that LTA will continue with its ongoing plans to add 6,000 more bicycle racks at various MRT stations, and another 500 lots in the city area by 2019.

The second element, said LTA also requires bicycle-sharing operators to promptly remove their bicycles which are indiscriminately parked.

"It is in their interest to cooperate with the authorities. Any public backlash may make the business model unsustainable," he added.

The third approach, Dr Lam said is to conduct strict enforcement against errant behaviour.

The LTA has served around 1,000 notices for illegally parked bicycles. The shared-bicycle operators are given half-a-day to remove them, following which the bicycles are impounded, he said. The companies are charged a fee for impounding and are also fined.

Of the 1,000 bicycles which were found illegally parked, 200 of them have been impounded. About half of the impounded bicycles have been collected by the operators, said Dr Lam.