Six Applications for Dockless Bicycle-Sharing Operator Licences Receive In-Principle Approval from LTA

News Releases
28 Sep 2018

Read related reports on The Straits Times & Lianhe Zaobao

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has evaluated the applications received from seven operators to operate dockless bicycle-sharing services in public places. LTA will grant licences to six dockless bicycle-sharing operators (BSOs) – full licences to Mobike, ofo and SG Bike, and sandbox licences to Anywheel, Grabcycle and Qiqi Zhixiang – in end October 2018, following the payment of licence fees by the BSOs. LTA will not grant a licence to the seventh applicant, GBikes, as it did not satisfy the assessment criteria, including criteria relating to the robustness of its proposed implementation plan.

Evaluation considerations

2.  While bicycle-sharing services provide a convenient and healthy option for first-and-last-mile journeys, rapid growth in the number of bicycles has also led to rampant indiscriminate parking of bicycles which creates safety issues and degrades our living environment. Prior to the commencement of the licensing regime, BSOs expanded their fleets aggressively to gain market share. The licensing regime is intended to address these issues and ensure that BSOs operate in a responsible manner, and make considerate and efficient use of limited public spaces.

3.  LTA assessed each application based on a set of criteria, including the applicant’s ability to manage indiscriminate parking, fleet utilisation rate, financial strength[1], redistribution plans, overall demand for shared-bicycles and availability of parking spaces. Where applicable, LTA also considered the track record of the applicants in managing cases of indiscriminate parking.

4.  Following the grant of the licence, licensees are required to right-size their bicycle fleets to the approved fleet size. Presently, the utilisation rate of the more than 100,000 shared bicycles in Singapore is low. The average utilisation rate for the entire shared bicycle population is slightly more than one trip per day. However, about half of the population is not actively used. This is much lower than the utilisation rates in other cities such as New York City and Chicago, where each shared bicycle is used about three to six times a day. We will give operators sufficient time to right-size their fleets and transit to the new licensing regime.

5.  To encourage innovation and reduce barriers to entry for new operators, LTA is intending to grant sandbox licences to three operators with little or no experience in operating shared bicycles in Singapore. They will be granted a maximum fleet size of 1,000 and subject to a subset of the full licence requirements, so that they can learn how to manage their fleet responsibly before scaling up. LTA will monitor their performance closely before determining whether to grant them full licences.

Please refer to the table below for the outcome of LTA’s evaluation.


Table: Outcome of evaluation

Operator

Licence Type

Approved Fleet size[2]

Mobike

Full Licence

25,000

ofo

Full Licence

25,000

SG Bike

Full Licence

3,000

Anywheel

Sandbox

1,000

Grabcycle

Sandbox

1,000

Qiqi ZhiXiang

Sandbox

500

GBikes

Licence application is unsuccessful



6.  LTA will also impose other key requirements, which include transmission of data[3] to LTA, removal of indiscriminately parked bicycles and implementing QR code geo-fencing and ban on users who repeatedly park their shared bicycles indiscriminately.

7.  Licenced operators that do not comply with licence conditions will face regulatory sanctions, which may include financial penalties of up to $100,000 for each non-compliance, reductions in fleet size, suspension or termination of their licences. Unlicensed operators can face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months, with a further fine of $500 for each day the offence continues after conviction.

8.  LTA will regularly review the fleet sizes, so that the population of shared bicycles supports user demand. Licensed operators can submit applications to expand their fleet sizes twice a year – in January and July. Responsible licensees that are able to manage their fleets effectively – minimising indiscriminate parking and maximising utilisation rate – will have the opportunity to grow their fleets. New operators that intend to provide bicycle-sharing or personal mobility device-sharing (PMD-sharing) services in Singapore may apply for a licence in January 2019.


[1] LTA only required full licensees to have good financial standing. Sandbox licensees are exempt from this criterion.

[2] T
his refers to the maximum number of bicycles which the licensee may deploy in public places.


[3] Licenced operators are required to share data on the locations of all their stationary bicycles to enable real-time monitoring of the bicycles’ locations and better management of indiscriminate parking. LTA also requires sharing of anonymous trip route data to facilitate the planning of active mobility infrastructure.