bikes being parked haphazardly near an MRT station

Haphazard bike parking has been a nuisance to many other road users. Source: LTA

Singapore fixing its bike problems with further regulations

SINGAPORE is clamping down on indiscriminate parking by users of bike-sharing apps, in an effort to keep the myriad bicycles from clogging up the streets.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is currently rolling out a Quick-Response (QR) code parking system for shared bicycles, which is going live in January 2019.

This move is part of the government’s initiative to regulate and license the bicycle-sharing industry.

Under the new rules, users who fail to park within allocated spaces and scan the QR code will be charged SG$5 (about US$ 3.70) by licensed operators. Users who break the ‘law’ three times in twelve months will be banned from using all sharing services for a period of one year.

According to a statement released by the LTA, the regulator is looking to increase the number of bicycle parking lots in Singapore from 207,000 to 267,000 by 2020.

Since the beginning of this year, around 7,000 additional spaces for bike parking have been allocated at various locations including public transport nodes, housing void decks, and public parks.

LTA said it aims to have bike parking available within a five-minute walk (around 400m) of most households and key destinations such as polyclinics, community centers, schools, and town centers.

In a report by Channel News Asia (CNA), local operators welcomed the new regulations.

“We believe that this is a necessary step to help bike sharing grow successfully in Singapore,” SG Bike marketing director Benjamin Oh told CNA. “This ensures that users take proper actions to park bicycles responsibly, and bike-sharing operators manage their fleet sizes to be in good conditions for the public to use.”

Beijing headquartered ofo also said it’s committed to providing a smooth transition. The company, along with other local operators have been in discussions with LTA since the beginning of the year on the best approach to implement measures such as QR-code geo-fencing.

“We believe that these solutions, when comprehensively rolled out, can be a part of an effective solution to ensure that users adopt responsible cycling etiquette,” said ofo Singapore general manager Isabelle Neo.

However, Anywheel warned that the changes will create issues for users.

“With this enforcement of responsible parking, we believe users may initially find inconvenience as well as an increase in travel time due to the need of parking in a proper parking area,” said Anywheel Strategy Manager RJ Seet.

It is hoped that LTA’s efforts in increasing parking spaces will mitigate the problem.

Beyond increasing bike parking spaces and implementing a QR code system, the LTA is also putting measures to regulate the operators themselves.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Transport announced that LTA will “right-size the shared bicycle fleet to manage indiscriminate bicycle parking and ensure the efficient use of shared bicycles and limited parking spaces”.

LTA will also be launching a public education campaign for bike sharing users in early October to educate riders on how to end their trips with QR codes.