oBike, a prominent bicycle sharing service, today announced that it will be stopping its service in Singapore. It said that it was unable to meet the new requirements put in place by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to tackle indiscriminate bicycle parking.
“oBike is announcing its decision to cease operation in Singapore as a result of difficulties foreseen to be experienced to fulfil the new requirements and guidelines released by LTA towards dock-less bicycle sharing in Singapore,” the company said.
A majority of oBike users who responded to the bicycle sharing company’s announcement on Facebook asked oBike to refund their deposits.
oBike users would have to place a deposit of $49 to rent bike after which they would have to pay 50-cents for every 15 minutes of usage. Students need to place a deposit of $19.
The decision by oBike to exit the Singapore market caught many by surprise. On 22 June, the bike sharing company had confirmed to a local news agency that they intended to comply with LTA’s requirements to continue operating in Singapore.
In May this year, the Singapore Government passed the Parking Places (Amendment) Bill which’s primary aim was to tackle indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles. The Bill required operators to ensure that shared bicycle users scan a unique QR code at the parking location as proof of proper parking before they can end their trip.
Users of shared bicycles who parked indiscriminately will continue to be charged until they return the bicycles to a designated parking space.
7 July was set as a deadline by LTA for bike sharing companies to submit applications for a licence to operate in public places or cease operations. LTA promised to evaluate applicants and award licenses by September.
Facebook user Mok Tuck Sung who responded to Channel NewsAsia’s report on oBike’s exit from Singapore said: “No mention about deposits taken! Where is my refund? They mentioned “they have more than 1 million users”. Each deposit is S$49, that is more than S$49,000,000.00. Not to mention some money in the wallet not used. When are we getting out refund back. What happen we do not want to join GrabCycle? Do we still get our deposit back?”
Others wished bicycle sharing companies good riddance:
Facebook user ZY Lin: Good news! I really don’t understand our government allowed the operator to operate without license? And waited for so long after all the troubles only come out rules and regulation???? No MP and anyone question the government? Really disappointed and this is not the Singapore I know.
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