SINGAPORE - After three strikes for indiscriminately parking their two-wheelers, users of dockless shared bicycles will find themselves temporarily banned from renting again.
On Tuesday (March 20), the Government also passed laws to tackle the problem of shared bikes being left carelessly around: Operators will now need to apply for a licence and their fleet sizes will be controlled.
This follows an amendment to the Parking Places Act.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told the House that the convenience provided by dockless shared bicycles has been "marred" by indiscriminate parking.
"The bicycle sharing operators have exacerbated this problem as they grew their fleets too quickly in a bid to capture market share.
"There are also inconsiderate and irresponsible users who leave bicycles outside of their designated parking areas," Dr Lam said during the second reading of the Bill.
In just over a year, the number of dockless shared bikes supplied by six rental operators here has grown to more than 100,000.
Under the new laws, bike-share operators will have to apply for and be licensed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). They will also have to pay a licence fee.
Dr Lam said the LTA will take "a more conservative approach" initially and cap the number of bicycles each operator can have, based on factors such as the operator's management of indiscriminate parking and its ability to ensure its bikes are well utilised.
The LTA will also set industry standards, including the use of geofencing technology and defining the amount of time operators have to remove illegally parked bicycles. Geofencing technology creates a virtual boundary that sends out an alert when a bike enters or leaves an area.
Penalties include a reduction in fleet size, fines of up to $100,000 for each instance of non-compliance, as well as the cancellation or suspension of licences.
Users who are caught illegally parking their shared bikes at least thrice in a calendar year will also be temporarily banned from renting from all operators, said Dr Lam.
The length of the suspension was not stated.
Dr Lam said operators here will also have to share information on recalcitrant users and the location of the bicycles, so the LTA can track indiscriminate parking more effectively.
Seven MPs and one Nominated MP spoke in support of the amendments to the Parking Places Act in Parliament.
The LTA had said previously that it will start accepting applications for the licence by the middle of this year, and the licences will be awarded by the end of the year.
Once the new licensing regime kicks in, existing operators will be allowed to continue operating for two months, until the application window closes.
If they have submitted their applications, they can continue operations until LTA releases the results of their applications.