The Land Transport Authority (LTA) grants licenses to six dockless bicycle-sharing operators (BSOs) – full licenses for Mobike, ofo and SG Bike, and sandbox licenses for Anywheel, Grabcycle and Qiqi Zhixiang – end of October 2018, after the payment of license fees by the BSOs.
In a press release on Friday (28 September), LTA stated that it evaluated the applications received from seven operators for the operation of bicycle services without a bicycle in public places.
However, LTA has stated that it will not license the seventh applicant, GBikes, because it did not meet the assessment criteria, including criteria relating to the soundness of the proposed implementation plan.
Although LTA noted that bicycle services are a convenient and healthy option for journeys of the first and last kilometers, LTA said that a rapid growth in the number of bicycles has also led to unrestrained random parking of bicycles, which causes safety problems and the living degrades the environment.
Prior to the start of the licensing system, BSO & # 39; s aggressively expanded their fleet to gain market share. The licensing regime is intended to address these problems and to ensure that BSOs work in a responsible manner and that they use civilized and efficient public spaces.
According to the authority, LTA assessed each application on the basis of a set of criteria, including the applicant's ability to manage random parking, use of the fleet, financial strength, redistribution plans, total demand for shared bicycles and the availability of parking spaces.
Where applicable, LTA noted that it also considered the applicants' records of handling cases of random parking.
After granting the license, the government has emphasized to licensees that they are obliged to bring their bicycle fleets to the correct size according to the approved fleet size.
LTA showed that the current utilization rate of the more than 100,000 shared bicycles in Singapore is low. The average occupancy rate for the entire shared bicycle population is slightly more than one trip per day. However, about half of the population is not actively used. This is much lower than the capacity utilization in other cities, such as New York City and Chicago, where each shared bike is used approximately three to six times a day.
"We will give operators sufficient time to bring their fleet to the right value and to switch to the new licensing system," LTA noted.
To encourage innovation and reduce entry barriers for new operators, LTA added that it intends to grant sandbox licenses to three operators with little or no experience in operating shared bicycles in Singapore.
"They get a maximum fleet size of 1,000 and are subject to a subset of the full licensing requirements, so they can learn how to manage their fleet responsibly before scaling up," LTA said, adding that their performance is closely monitored. will keep an eye on whether they have to grant full licenses.
LTA said it will also impose other important requirements, such as forwarding data to LTA, removing random parked bicycles and implementing QR code geo-fencing and the ban on users who repeatedly park their shared bicycles.
Licensed operators who do not comply with the licensing conditions will face sanctions imposed by the government, including possible financial penalties of up to $ 100,000 for any non-compliance, reduction of fleet size, suspension or termination of their licenses.
While unlicensed operators can incur a fine of up to $ 10,000 and / or up to six months' imprisonment with a further fine of $ 500 for each day that the offense continues after conviction.
LTA emphasized that it will regularly review the size of the fleet, so that the population of shared bicycles supports the demand of the users. Licensed operators can submit applications twice a year to expand their fleet sizes – in January and July.
Responsible licensees who can effectively manage their fleet – minimizing random parking and maximizing occupancy – are given the opportunity to grow their fleets. New operators who plan to share services in the area of shared use of bicycles or personal mobility (PMD sharing) in Singapore can apply for a license in January 2019.
On June 25 of this year, oBike announced its departure from the Singapore market abruptly before announcing its liquidation, which meant that users who had deposited with oBike could not use it for the use of bicycles.
oBike said that its decision to stop the operation in Singapore was due to the anticipated difficulties to comply with the new requirements and guidelines released by LTA for sharing a dockless bicycle in Singapore.