Bike-sharing deal inked for Jurong

Community cyclists took a ride around the Jurong Lake District yesterday, after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Jurong-Clementi Town Council and representatives of the three bike-sharing companies.
Community cyclists took a ride around the Jurong Lake District yesterday, after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Jurong-Clementi Town Council and representatives of the three bike-sharing companies.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Town council's MOU with firms will improve planning for cycling paths

Jurong-Clementi Town Council has tied up with the three bicycle-sharing companies in a one-year pilot that could be expanded to other parts of Singapore, if successful.

The town council sealed a deal yesterday with representatives of Mobike, ofo and oBike, which will supply the authorities with users' cycling patterns, to improve the planning of future cycling paths.

The scheme could replace the proposed government-backed National Bicycle Sharing Scheme that was to have been launched in the district later this year. It was shelved last month after private bike-share companies entered the market.

Parking spaces intended mainly for rental bicycles will be added to 30 sites in Jurong - on top of 120 new bicycle racks - to ease the problem of bicycle-sharing firms' vehicles being parked willy-nilly in public areas.

MP Ang Wei Neng, chairman of the town council, said: "I know some agencies dislike the rental bicycles provided by these three companies. However, I would like to embrace this bike-sharing scheme instead of rejecting it."

He said the shelved bicycle- sharing scheme could not compete in terms of fleet size, and the speed and cost of implementation.

The three companies must also each set up a 24-hour contact centre to respond to reports of illegal parking or unsafe bicycle use, under the memorandum of understanding (MOU).

They will have to remove the bicycle within four hours, if alerted between 8.30am and 7pm. Otherwise, the bicycle must be removed by 7am the next day.

The MOU also formalises the requirement that the firms use geo- location technology and third- party insurance.

He said at the launch of the pilot scheme, which will be watched by other town councils, that its success will depend on the responsible behaviour of users, which can be achieved through education.

He added that the use of bicycles must also increase, "which will, in itself, bring many benefits to our health, reduce carbon emissions and bring about a car-lite society".

Bicycle enthusiast Zack Tay, 39, welcomed the prospect of new riders finding their feet with the increased availability of shared bikes and parking spaces.

The information technology manager said: "It will help those who don't cycle. If they are just starting out, this will get them on the road."

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Cyclists in Jurong going on a neighbourhood ride. http:// str.sg/42NR

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 30, 2017, with the headline 'Bike-sharing deal inked for Jurong'. Print Edition | Subscribe