18 months of bike-sharing

oBikes being abandoned on a walkway following the announcement of oBike's closure, on June 25, 2018.
oBikes being abandoned on a walkway following the announcement of oBike's closure, on June 25, 2018. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

•January 2017: Singapore-registered oBike is the first company to offer dockless shared bicycles here. Chinese firms ofo and Mobike quickly followed.

•February 2017: Indiscriminate parking of these bikes riles many people as 40 ofo bikes illegally used motorcycle parking spaces at Pasir Ris Park. Town councils also raise concerns about these bikes blocking dry risers for fighting fires.

•March 2017: Land Transport Authority (LTA) shelves plans for a Government-backed national bike-sharing scheme because of the private operators.

•May 2017: GBikes, a subsidiary of finance technologies firm FinTechSG, becomes the fourth operator here.

•June 2017: Reports of misused shared bikes persist. A 14-year-old boy was nabbed for hurling an ofo bicycle from the 30th floor of a Housing Board block in Whampoa on June 16. On June 22, a 47-year-old man was arrested for doing the same from the 15th floor of an HDB block in Boon Keng.

•August 2017: SG Bike, the fifth company, rolls out its bikes. To encourage proper parking, its bike will set off an alarm when it is not parked within 5m of a "geostation" device.

•October 2017: LTA signs an agreement with bike-sharing firms, the National Parks Board and town councils to introduce measures to deter indiscriminate parking. These include geofencing, a wireless technology that alerts the company when a user fails to park a bike in a prescribed area.

 

•December 2017: oBike user data in 14 countries were leaked online. The firm insists the problem was resolved quickly and only a "handful" of users were affected.

•March 2018: New laws require bike companies to be licensed. Each is allowed a specified number of bikes and must meet standards such as ensuring their users do not park indiscriminately. They have until July 7 to apply for a licence.

•June 8, 2018: GBikes becomes the first company to close shop, saying it will stop operating in July.

•June 25, 2018: oBike surprises market by announcing it is ceasing operations immediately. Five companies are left, including newcomers ShareBikeSG and Anywheel.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline '18 months of bike-sharing'. Print Edition | Subscribe