A group of Mobike rental/bike sharing bicycles parked outside of Fort Canning MRT (Photo by freehunter45 from Shutterstock.com).

Mobike asks for orderly withdrawal from Singapore bike sharing market

Mobike has submitted a proposal on Monday (11 March) to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for a managed and orderly withdrawal from the Singapore market as part of its plan to rationalises operations in South-east Asia.

It is said that the company has also withdrawn its applications for a PMD-sharing licence and to increase its maximum allowable shared bicycle fleet size, which was just filed last month.

The company also said that it would pull out of some Asian countries and re-evaluate its units in other overseas markets amid a wide-scale contraction in the market, as well as the bankruptcy of its top competitor Ofo.

Currently, Mobike is the largest bike-sharing operator in Singapore, with a licence to operate 25,000 bikes.

Under the Parking Places Act, a bicycle-sharing licence may only be surrendered with the written consent of the LTA.

LTA’s spokesman stated that it is assessing Mobike’s request and will work with Mobike to ensure that it has fully explored all options, including its proposal to transfer existing assets or operations to existing licensees, to minimise impact to consumers.

The spokesman said that if Mobike’s application is granted, the operator must conduct a proper exit by removing all bicycles from public places, as well as provide refunds for user deposits and prepaid credits, in accordance with its terms and conditions.

Mobike is the third bike-sharing company to quit Singapore’s market.

Chinese bike-sharing operator Ofo failed to comply with LTA requirements to reduce its deployed bicycle fleet to the stipulated maximum fleet size of 10,000, as well as managing to implement the QR-code parking system.

Therefore, its license was suspended last month.

Last year, oBike announced its decision to cease operation in Singapore as a result of difficulties foreseen to be experienced to fulfill the new requirements and guidelines released by LTA towards dock-less bike sharing in Singapore, saying that the new regulatory measures do not favor their beliefs.

Ofo, Mobike, as well as a local start-up SG Bike are the three companies left with a full operating licence. Anywheel and Qiqi Zhixiang hold sandbox licences.

As part of the Parking Places Bill introduced in Parliament on March last year, bike-sharing companies will have their fleet sizes reviewed every six months by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), based on how well their users park shared bikes within designated zones or yellow boxes.

Bike-sharing operators will also have to implement QR code-based geo-fencing at parking spaces by the second half of 2018, which requires users to scan a unique QR code at parking stations as proof of proper parking before they can end their trip.