2017 Yearender: Transport

Easing the route for bike-sharing

LTA, town councils, NParks and bike-sharing operators signed an agreement to implement geo-fencing technology.
LTA, town councils, NParks and bike-sharing operators signed an agreement to implement geo-fencing technology. PHOTO: WANBAO FILE

Plans for a government-backed bicycle-sharing scheme - in line with its car-lite vision - got upended when private bike-sharing operators started rolling out their two-wheelers in Singapore in January.

In March, the Land Transport Authority announced that it was shelving plans for its own scheme following the entry of three bike-sharing firms - Mobike, oBike and ofo. These were later joined by two others, SGBike and GBikes, with a sixth firm - Baicycle - expected to make its debut soon.

However, the bikes soon started making headlines for the wrong reasons, with incidents of users flinging the bikes into canals and drains, and even hurling them off the upper floors of HDB blocks.

In addition to being vandalised, the bicycles were also found parked indiscriminately or abandoned when broken.

In October, the LTA - together with all 16 town councils and the National Parks Board - signed an agreement with the five operators to implement the use of geo-fencing technology by the end of this year to deter such misuse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2017, with the headline 'Easing the route for bike-sharing'. Print Edition | Subscribe