oBike ceases operations in Singapore, citing difficulties in meeting new LTA regulations

In a statement shared via its app, oBike cited difficulties in meeting the new requirements and guidelines by the Land Transport Authority to curb indiscriminate parking. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Bicycle-sharing operator oBike announced on Monday (June 25) that it will cease operations immediately in Singapore.

In a statement shared via its app, oBike cited difficulties in meeting the new requirements and guidelines by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to curb indiscriminate parking.

The company said that it strongly believes in, and is committed to, providing a dockless bicycle-sharing service that would "benefit users' commuting and Singapore's transportation system".

"However, it is with regret that the new regulation measures do not favour this belief of ours," oBike said.

Under new laws passed in March, bike-sharing operators will have to be licensed by LTA by July 7, which will regulate their fleet sizes.

The licence will let a bike-sharing company operate for up to two years. Existing operators which fail to submit an application will have to cease operations once the application window closes.

oBike's operation in countries outside of Singapore will not be affected, it added.

Users who currently possess an oBike Super VIP membership will still be able to use oBike services in all other oBike operating countries except Singapore, it said.

oBike said in its statement that those who wish to use oBike services here can do so with its partner, GrabCycle.

A GrabCycle parking station at Sentosa's Siloso Beach. PHOTO: ST FILE

However, a Grab spokesman refuted this on Monday, saying that with oBike's exit from Singapore, it will "no longer be able to offer" its bikes on the GrabCycle marketplace app.

The Grab spokesman added that it will be waiving all active subscriptions and deposits on its GrabCycle app for now as "it is the right thing to do".

"We understand that with one less partner on our platform, our customers' experience will be impacted," the spokesman said.

Grab will also be offering a four-week free trial on GrabCycle for current users to try out its latest bike-share partner, Anywheel, the spokesman added.

In a statement on Monday, the Land Transport Authority said it was informed in the morning of oBike's intention to stop its operations in Singapore.

"LTA will be engaging oBike on their exit plans, including the removal of shared bicycles from public places," the authority added.

LTA also said that the new licence requirements for bicycle sharing operators were put in place "after extensive consultation with the bicycle sharing industry, including oBike, over four months".

Customers who are affected by oBike's exit from Singapore should make a request for the refund of their deposits or subscription fees if they have not already done so, LTA added.

Those facing difficulties getting their refunds from oBike may wish to approach the Consumers Association of Singapore through their hotline at 61000315, or submit their feedback online.

oBike was launched in January last year as Singapore's first dockless bicycle-sharing service and has more than a million users in the country.

It is the second bike-sharing firm to exit the Singapore market, after GBikes - which had as many as 3,000 rental bicycles - said earlier this month that it will cease operations on July 7.

The announcement also comes less than two weeks after oBike said it was leaving the Melbourne market, citing the Australian state's tough new rules to prevent vandalised share-bikes from being abandoned.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.