In a bid to control the degree of indiscriminate bicycle parking in public places islandwide, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in conjunction with bike-sharing operators such as SG Bike and Anywheel will be implementing a quick response (QR) code system, which will take effect on 14 Jan next year.
The impending QR code system, which was announced by LTA in a media release on Thursday (27 Dec), is already being tested through beta versions launched by the bike-sharing operators, which will see users testing out the scanning function via mobile applications starting Saturday (28 Dec) as an exercise in familiarising themselves with the new system.
LTA added that while "an additional fee of $5" will be charged "by licensed operators" against "bicycle-sharing users who do not park at designated parking areas" and fail to "scan the quick response (QR) code at the designated parking area in public places", the beta versions will not be incorporating the additional fee, in the event that users do not carry out such steps before the new requirement comes into enforcement next month.
"This fee is imposed and collected by the BSOs [bicycle-sharing operators]," said LTA, adding that the Authority "holds the BSOs responsible for ensuring their users park properly and putting in all necessary measures to achieve this.
"The fee also helps operators offset the cost of collecting and relocating the indiscriminately parked bicycles," said the Authority.
"Those [users] who indiscriminately park any shared bicycle in public places 3 times or more in a calendar year", added LTA, "will be banned from using all bicycle-sharing services for a month."
"The ban period will increase with every subsequent ban," stressed the Authority.
Elaborating on the ban, LTA specified that "the second ban will be for 3 months, the third ban will be for 6 months, and the fourth and subsequent bans will be for a year."
"Users who do not have any instances of indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles in public places for 1 year from the last day of the ban will have their ban count reset to zero," it added.
LTA reasoned that the recent measures are "part of the new bicycle-sharing licensing regime" that aims "to encourage responsible parking habits and manage the disamenities brought about by indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles".
The Authority added that it has also launched a public education campaign, "which includes walkway banners at MRT stations, table-top stickers at hawker centres, as well as advertorials on broadcast, print and digital platforms" as a means to educate the public on ways to utilise the QR code system effectively.
"To support the growing cycling community, LTA will continue to work with our partner agencies, private developers and building owners to expand the bicycle parking capacity island-wide, especially at locations with higher demand for bicycle parking.
"Today, there are 211,000 bicycle parking lots across the island, with almost all homes and public amenities within a 400m radius – or 5-minute walk – from a public bicycle parking facility. By 2020, the Government will provide more than 267,000 bicycle parking lots across the island for active mobility users," concluded LTA.
The QR codes can be spotted at all public bicycle parking areas, including yellow boxes and bicycle parking racks.
Users despair over the lack of shared bicycles following LTA's licensing regime in Sep
Meanwhile, TODAY Online reported in Sep that "the total number of shared bicycles in Singapore fell from more than 100,000 to around 55,000" following the implementation of the licensing regime.
Frequent users of such bikes, however, also cited poor practices in handling shared bicycles on the part of other users as a major contribution to the decrease in numbers of shared bikes.
Such poor practices include hogging bicycles "by securing them with personal locks or even taking them home".
Speaking to TODAY Online, regular cyclist Terence Lim illustrated how he faced no problems using shared bicycles "every day" from Feb to Sep this year to "ride anytime and anywhere" he wants.
"Bike-sharing was a good initiative but it was killed by inconsiderate users," he said, noting that he "counts himself lucky if he manages to find a working bicycle".
However, Bok Chek Yang, another bike-sharer who has been utilising the service since last year, maintained that "LTA’s regulations are killing bike-sharing by making it more difficult for operators to deploy more bicycles".
"The maximum number of bikes allowed per operator may not be sufficient in the first place," lamented Mr Bok.
Additionally, TODAY Online's investigation revealed that "nine out of the 14 shared bicycles in the area were secured with personal locks" at Yew Tee MRT Station as of Thursday (27 Dec).