Regulate operators' membership sizes

One way the Land Transport Authority (LTA) can ensure that bike-sharing operators keep in line with the rules is to regulate their membership sizes (Regulations for operators and users; March 21).

Membership size matters infinitely more to shared-bike operators than their fleet size.

Shared-bike operators collect huge amounts of deposits from members. These are not only interest-free, but also of long tenure, because most members are willing to keep the deposits with the operators for the convenience of being able to use a shared bike, even if only occasionally.

There is little regulation on how such deposits should be used. The deposits, far more than the modest fees the operators charge for the use of bikes, are their financial lifeline.

The data collected from members is also valuable to the operators for data-mining and business development purposes.

Regulating membership sizes will therefore come in handy for the LTA in ensuring that bike-sharing operators act according to the rules.

Cheng Shoong Tat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2018, with the headline 'Regulate operators' membership sizes'. Print Edition | Subscribe