It has been a year since bike-sharing platforms has set up in Singapore. The Singapore-based oBike has been getting some success from this service. They rolled out about 1,000 bicycles in January last year, but now the number has grown to 14,000. The company has a million active users here and also has expanded the service to 20 countries.
oBike was soon joined by Mobike — which currently has eight million bikes in more than 200 cities — and ofo, which has 10 million bikes in more than 250 cities. The government said it would continue to monitor developments and introduce new plans if necessary. The plans were expected to have bicycles to be rented from and returned to fixed docking stations. Mr. Francis Chu, co-founder of enthusiast group Love Cycling SG, believed that this decision was the right one.
However, along with the success is a downside because there are complaints about the abuse of bicycles by blocking pathways and dry risers or those found in canals or those with their locks broken, etc. Even though the operators tried to remove faulty bikes within a day, damaged shared-bikes, such as no pedals or broken chains, are still common.
A 35-year-old user said, “I don’t really use shared bikes anymore as there are so many faulty ones. Sometimes when I scan the bikes, I’m not even able to unlock them.” As to solve the issue, last October, there is an agreement signed between bike-sharing operators and the Land Transport Authority encouraging responsible operation of bicycle-sharing services in public spaces”, which means the operators need to introduce geofencing — which creates a virtual boundary that can send out an alert when a bike enters or leaves an area — to ensure that bikes are parked within designated areas. Nevertheless, there are still issues for this since bikes are not as sophisticated and the technology is still very limited for this vehicle, which is hard to set up geofencing.
Despite all this, bike-sharing services in Singapore are still growing with many other different companies such as SG Bike, GBikes, etc. The surge in bike-sharing platforms is indeed making a noticeable change in Singaporeans’ lives. More and more people are willing to use bicycles frequently. People can witness that there are many bright-colored two-wheelers rolling on the street and in every corner now.
Even though encountering many issues with operations, bike-sharing services have proved as a convenient and affordable service for users because companies charge very minimal rates for the use of this service. Other than that, the frequent usage of bikes is considered a healthy lifestyle besides a 150-minutes of physical activity per week. As this service is bringing us a better life routine, why not be considerate when using the bike and treat them as if they were our own property?
Written by Linh Tran
Info credit: The Straits Times