Remember when yellow bicycles dominated our little red dot? Wherever you went, you’d either see people riding one or a couple of them lying lifelessly on grass patches, waiting patiently for someone to say yes to the bike.
Remember when ofo used to be the top few most downloaded mobile application when it was in its prime?
Well, this may very well be the last if not last few times you’ll be hearing of the bike-sharing operator in Singapore at least.
A moment of silence for our fallen bicycles. Literally.
Ofo to 101% Cease Operations in Singapore
According to The Straits Times, Land Transport Authority (LTA) issued a notice to revoke ofo’s license to operate in Singapore yesterday on 3 April 2019.
The bike-sharing operator is known to be the first dockless bike sharing platform in the world as mentioned by Rewind & Capture. Ofo first entered Singapore in 2017 and while they proved to bring about greater convenience, they were undoubtedly faced with obstacles as well.
In light of their exit from the local scene, more than 7,900 bicycles from ofo were recently sold in a public auction on 1 April 2019 as reported by Straits Times, and eventually a firm bought all the bikes at $99,000. This also include 57,000 bicycle spare parts.
Without taking the spare parts as consideration, one bike’s at around $12.50. That’s a steal, man.
Since their launch, ofo has had to deal with problems such as vandalism, mishandling, theft, as well as legal issues with LTA.
LTA had given ofo many warnings to which fell on deaf ears (i.e. they ghosted LTA). LTA reportedly suspended their license back in February “after it failed to meet regulatory requirements, such as failing to implement a QR code-based parking system that would allow its bicycles to be parked only within specified areas.”
The China firm was then given an extended deadline by LTA as it was in the midst of teaming up with another party to fulfill the said requirements. Despite the new deadline, ofo did not meet LTA’s expectations due to “immense cash-flow problems” as stated by The Straits Times.
As such, ofo eventually dismissed its local operations team without adequate compensation and owe employees over S$700,000 according to TODAYonline.
Gone with the old, in with the new
With the exit of bicycle-sharing operators like Ofo, Singaporeans need not feel disappointed because this translates to the entry of new operators.
Moov Technology will be entering the market with 1,000 bicycles locally under the Sandbox licence from LTA. This license allows them to operate smaller fleets for one year while they are evaluated by LTA.
In addition to new operators, local firm Anywheel which was established in 2018 “has been granted a full licence to run a fleet of 10,000 two-wheelers”.
To avoid an eyesore and meet LTA’s requirement of ensuring bicycles are parked in designated areas, Anywheel has implemented a penalty whereby users are charged a relocation fee of S$5 if their bicycle is found to be outside the parking zone by 20 meters.
With that said, Singaporeans can look out for LTA’s stand on the rental of personal mobility device (PMD) by June this year.
But the question remains: would people anyhowly park them as well?
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