Good time to start licence plates on shared bikes

Recently, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) introduced a new licensing regime where all bike-sharing firms are charged a fee for each bike they operate.

To counter the new moves, ofo was the first to adjust its operating costs by raising its rental prices (Riders set to pay more for shared bikes; Oct 11).

Under the new pricing model, ofo users pay 50 cents to unlock a bike and an additional 50 cents for every 15 minutes of use or part thereof.

The rental fee, when charged in blocks of 15 minutes, encourage users to abandon their bikes anywhere and at any place when they are near their destinations just to avoid paying extra when their riding time is about to cross over to a new time block.

The situation of indiscriminate bike parking is unlikely to improve, even after capping the number of shared bikes each company is allowed to operate.

I would like to suggest that LTA impose a per-minute bike-rental fee to reduce users' time and cost sensitiveness.

Also, now that the bike-sharing firms require a licence to operate, it would be a good time to attach a licence plate on all shared bikes for better administration, more effective accident reporting and OneService reporting of illegal parking along footpaths and sheltered walkways.

Chee Chi Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2018, with the headline 'Good time to start licence plates on shared bikes'. Print Edition | Subscribe