Following the cancellation of Chinese bike-sharing company ofo’s license last April, its famous yellow bicycles are once again seen in the streets of Singapore. However, this time it comes with a different name.
This is because bike-sharing start-up Moov Technology has purchased brand-new ofo bicycles that were left in a warehouse in Singapore and refurbished them, before launching them last week.
In April, the company was granted a sandbox licence to have up to 1,000 bicycles, and as a result of that, some of their bikes have now been seen in the western part of Singapore like Boon Lay and Pioneer.
Moov is the first company to make an entry into the local market after ofo’s licence was revoked in April for failing to meet regulatory requirements. It appears that the Chinese company failed to ensure that its bicycles were parked within designated areas by using a QR-code system, a new regulation that was added by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
Besides that, ofo also did not reduce its bicycle fleet to the stipulated maximum size of 10,000 despite given multiple warnings by LTA. As such, they were ordered to shut their operations in Singapore.
Moov’s chief operation officer Sharon Meng told The Straits Times (ST) that the company bought the never-used ofo bikes and adjusted the locks to Moov’s system, which made sense both economically and environmentally.
“Earlier this year, we learnt that there were many brand-new bikes that had not been used at all. But were left in the warehouse waiting to be scrapped after other bike-sharing operators exited the market. We believe that cleaning the battlefield and putting the brand-new bikes to good use is the first thing we can do to improve the bike-sharing industry,” Ms Meng said.
Adding to that, the company also announced that it will introduce its own bike by the end of this year in order to help improve operational efficiency.
As for operating in the western part of Singapore, Ms Meng explained that Moov decided to concentrate its efforts on just one area for now to make sure the availability of bikes. They selected the west as it had a proper mix of parking infrastructure and riding conditions, and will look at expanding to other areas in the country after receiving approval from LTA to widen its fleet size.
Despite the high number of failures of other bike-sharing companies in recent times, Moov said that it’s confident in its prospects.
In March 2018, the Parliament passed the Parking Places (Amendment) Bill which included some measures like a new licensing regime for shared bike operators, a review of fleet size every half a year, and a QR code-based geo-fencing solution which requires users to scan a QR code at each parking space to make sure proper parking.
Following the implementation of the new regulations, many bike-sharing operators like OBike and ofo are no longer operating, whereas Mobike had applied to leave the Singapore market but LTA has not approve their request yet.
As such, Moov’s launch makes it the fourth active bike-sharing operator in the country right now. Other operators that are still surviving include Anywheel and SG Bike, as well as Mobike but it’s future remain uncertain.