SINGAPORE: Bicycle sharing service oBike will stop operations in Singapore from Monday (Jun 25) because of difficulties in meeting the new requirements put in place by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to tackle indiscriminate parking.
"oBike is announcing its decision to cease operation in Singapore as a result of difficulties foreseen to be experienced to fulfil the new requirements and guidelines released by LTA towards dock-less bicycle sharing in Singapore," the company said.
oBike added that it strongly believes and is committed to provide dock-less bicycle sharing service that would benefit users’ commuting and Singapore’s transportation system, but regrets that "the new regulation measures do not favour this belief of ours".
The ceasing of oBike's operation is limited only to Singapore, and does not apply to its services in other countries.
Users who still wish to use oBike services in Singapore can continue to do so with GrabCycle, said oBike. Users are advised to contact GrabCycle directly for further enquiries regarding the respective oBike services, it added.
Grab clarified in a statement shortly after that oBikes will no longer be available on the GrabCycle app from Monday as well.
"We understand that oBike will be ceasing their operations in Singapore. As such, we will no longer be able to offer their bikes on our GrabCycle marketplace app," a Grab spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.
The company also said in a statement on its website that it will waive all active subscriptions and refund any deposits by Jun 26.
All oBike users who currently possess an oBike Super VIP membership will still be able to use oBike services in all other operating countries except for Singapore, said oBike.
The company also expressed its "sincerest appreciation to more than 1 million users" in Singapore that have supported its services since it was launched in January last year.
The LTA has set a Jul 7 deadline for bike-sharing firms to submit applications for a licence to operate in public places or cease operations.
Those who submit them will have their applications evaluated and licence awarded by September.
The move followed the passage in May of the Parking Places (Amendment) Bill, a piece of legislation that was aimed at tackling the indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles.
The licensing framework requires operators to ensure that shared bike users scan the unique QR code at the parking location as proof of proper parking before they can end their trip. Users who park indiscriminately will continue to be charged, until they return the bicycles to a designated parking space.
oBike's announcement comes just days after it confirmed to Channel NewsAsia that it would submit an application for a licence before the LTA deadline despite an expected "financial strain" on its current business model.
Four other bike-sharing firms - Mobike, ofo, SG Bike and Anywheel - also plan to meet the deadline.