SINGAPORE - From Friday (June 29), Mobike users will no longer need to place a deposit to ride its shared bicycles.
The bike sharing operator has announced a deposit-free policy for new and existing users who have registered for an account using a local Singapore phone number with the prefix +65.
In a statement on Friday, China-based Mobike said that it introduced a $49 deposit when it launched its service in Singapore in March last year.
The deposit, which was one-time and fully refundable, was meant to encourage proper use of shared bikes.
However, following a data-driven analysis on rider behaviour, the company has decided that a deposit is no longer needed.
Said Mobike Singapore country manager Sharon Meng: "We would like to thank our riders in Singapore for helping to cultivate a healthy and enjoyable bike-sharing experience for all. In our show of appreciation, we are waiving deposits for Singapore-registered users."
She guaranteed that deposits are safe and available for a full refund anytime.
Mobike's move comes just days after another bike-sharing provider, oBike, abruptly announced its exit from the Singapore market.
With the company going into liquidation, experts said that oBike users are unlikely to get their $49 deposit - which was required to use its services - returned to them.
The Chinese-founded operator said it foresaw difficulties in meeting the Land Transport Authority's new licensing regime for bike-sharing firms, which is aimed at tackling indiscriminate parking and controlling fleet sizes.
Mobike's Ms Meng said that the company is fully prepared to work with the authorities and will continue investing in technologies to improve its services.
She said: "We are confident that our riders in Singapore enjoy and benefit from the convenient, affordable and sustainable mobility offered by Mobike."
Existing Mobike users can request for a refund of their deposit via its mobile app by selecting the "Refund" button on the "My Wallet" page.
Mobike said that it will start the refund process immediately upon receiving a user's request and the amount will be credited into the user's account in 10 working days.
For more information, the public can contact Mobike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org