Bicycle-sharing firm Anywheel gets nod to expand fleet to 15,000

The shared bike population in Singapore will be expanding, after local bicycle-sharing firm Anywheel received approval from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to expand its fleet from 10,000 to 15,000 with effect from this month.

LTA also announced last Wednesday that its latest bike-sharing licence application cycle has opened.

Companies that want to start offering such services and existing operators which want to expand their fleets have up till Aug 26 to submit their applications via LTA's website.

Licence applications are open every January and July.

New firms can apply for a sandbox licence to start bike-sharing operations on a small scale.

This allows them to operate up to 1,000 bicycles in Singapore while LTA assesses their operations, before they can apply to increase their fleet sizes.

While Anywheel now has a maximum approved fleet size of 15,000, local start-up SG Bike is the largest operator, with a licence to operate 25,000 bikes.

In November last year, SG Bike completed its takeover of Chinese firm Mobike's licence to operate 25,000 bicycles in Singapore.

Before that, SG Bike held a licence to operate 3,000 bikes, which it had to give up once it took over Mobike's licence. Firms are not allowed to hold two licences concurrently.

In early 2018, shared bicycles were ubiquitous, with seven companies - Anywheel, GBikes, Mobike, oBike, ofo, Share Bike SG and SG Bike - offering about 200,000 dockless shared bicycles in Singapore.

However, misuse of shared bikes surfaced, with some reportedly chained outside flats, and others abandoned in canals and bins or vandalised.

More significantly, operators struggled to meet LTA's new licensing regulations that were aimed at tackling indiscriminate parking and controlling fleet sizes.

oBike, GBikes and Share Bike SG shut down their operations in 2018 while ofo's licence was cancelled by LTA last year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2020, with the headline Bicycle-sharing firm Anywheel gets nod to expand fleet to 15,000. Subscribe