8 Facts About Bike-Sharing in S’pore You Didn’t Know Besides The Bicycles Getting Trashed

Okay, I assume we all know about the huge hoo-ha behind the shared bicycle system in Singapore because if you don’t, chances are you’ve not been on the internet for a very long time.

Left, right, up, down, the news about how these bicycles are stolen, mistreated and abused took the internet by storm. 

But did you know that if you do a little digging, you can find some really interesting facts?

Here are 8 facts about bike-sharing in Singapore you didn’t know besides the bicycles getting trashed.

1. The Government Was Supposed to Lead a Bike-Sharing Scheme 

Image: lta.gov.sg

Yes, I bet you either didn’t know or totally forgot about this little scheme that was announced by the government three years ago. In a bid for a car-lite push, LTA planned to provide 2,300 bicycles by this year end and double the cycling network in Singapore.

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When asked about their opinion of private bike-sharing services and whether it will affect the national bike-sharing scheme, they responded that they will continue with the scheme to offer Singaporeans more choices, with private bike-sharing services reaching areas the national scheme couldn’t reach. 

Eventually, they decided to scrap the scheme even though they have already received tenders from 13 interested operators.

They reasoned that with private bicycle sharing firms operating in Singapore, there was no need for the LTA to step in and provide the service.

2. ofo Bikes Does Not Have a GPS System

Image: straitstimes.com

This could be a huge reason why it’s usually the poor ofo bikes who are always getting stolen, repainted, parked outside houses and all. 

There are at least 31 of such incidents reported in online media. Which is a lot, considering it was launched just two months ago.

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3. ofo Singapore Said It Has Experienced ‘Low’ Rate of Such Incidents

In a surprising turn of events, ofo said it has experienced a ‘low’ rate of bicycles getting stolen, vandalised or abused. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, given the number of ofo bicycles on the streets. 

When they contacted users who held on to bicycles, many of them apologised and claimed that they had no idea they couldn’t keep the bike for use at a later time. 

You know lah, act blur live longer.

4. Schools and Malls Are Starting to Wheel-Clamp Bicycles

Image: stomp.com.sg

If you, like my boss, thinks that wheel-clamps are just a way to scare you into complying with parking regulations within an area, then you’re never more wrong.

Malls and schools are now taking actions against people who ‘parked’ the shared bicycles illegally on their compound. The bicycles will be locked up in chains until the guilty party stepped forward.

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And since the bicycles are technically shared and not theirs, most won’t bother trying to get it unchained. 

Oh, by the way, my boss got his car wheel-clamped just this afternoon #TrueStory

5. The Interesting Reason Why ofo Is Called ofo

Image: bikejuju.com

Now, I’m pretty sure you’re trying to come up with some interesting interpretation on why they chose this name. 

Now I’d hate to burst your bubble, but the reason why ofo is named ofo is because it looked like a person riding a bicycle. 

6. Bike-Sharing Firms Are Like Uber on Two Wheels

No, they’re not like Uber because they have wheels. It’s because they’re killing off the traditional model. 

What traditional model?! You may ask. Well, you know those bicycle rental shops along East Coast Park? Yes, those models.

Compared to a $0.50 for half an hour ride and $7 for an hour’s ride, which will you prefer?

Add in the fact that said stalls have to pay rental every month while bike-sharing companies use public bike parking spaces and you know they’ll lose in a price war. 

Luckily, the current bike-sharing bikes (that’s a mouthful, ain’t it?) aren’t really very good rides, so people might still be inclined to rent bicycles from bike rental shops.

7. Experts Says There’s Only Room For One Bike-Sharing Company Here

Image: straitstimes.com

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said that he does not see much potential for more than one player here (in Singapore), according to Straits Times.

If he’s right, chances are the three bike-sharing firms will engage in fierce competition with each other to monopolise the market. Similar to Uber and Grab, this means better deals for us consumers. #SitBackAndRelax

8. The Situation of Keeping Shared Bikes is Similar to Missing Trolleys From Fairprice 

Image: tnp.sg

Lawyer Amolat Singh said that the legal situation is similar to supermarket trolleys removed from the store premises, according to Straits Times.

While misuse of shared bikes can be considered a breach of contract, it’s hard to “pursue the case as one of theft” because they are merely “holding on to the bike”. 

In addition, the police will normally advise both parties to settle it themselves as they think of it as a commercial matter.

Want to know what I think? Better start treating those bikes right or we might end up with no bike-sharing services at all.

After all, Singapore is a very small market and if the other companies see it as too costly to maintain the service here, you’ll be left with $7 bicycle rentals.

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Featured Image: straitstimes.com

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Boon Hun

Boon Hun

Armed with paper and pen, or rather keyboard and the internet, he wants to change the world one word at a time. I guess you could call him a keyboard warrior, except he doesn't troll, honest!
Boon Hun