Ofo’s licence cancelled after company fails to provide 'sufficient justifications' to LTA

Ofo’s licence cancelled after company fails to provide 'sufficient justifications' to LTA

Chinese bike-sharing company ofo’s licence was cancelled on Monday (Apr 22) after missing a deadline to remove its bicycles from public spaces in Singapore in March.

SINGAPORE: Chinese bike-sharing company ofo’s licence was cancelled on Monday (Apr 22) after missing a deadline to remove its bicycles from public spaces in Singapore in March.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had on Apr 3 issued ofo a notice of intention to cancel its licence.

"As ofo has not provided LTA with sufficient justifications on why its licence should not be cancelled, LTA cancelled ofo’s bicycle-sharing operating licence on Apr 22," a spokesman for the authority said.

"Ofo will not be able to offer dockless bicycle-sharing services in public places in Singapore without this licence."

LTA suspended ofo’s licence on Feb 14 after the company failed to comply with regulatory requirements and ordered the company to clear its bikes by Mar 13.

READ: Ofo has 'practically ceased' operations, sacked employees say, no official notice made to LTA

READ: Wheel woes: The rise and fall of Singapore's bike-sharing industry

In addition to not ensuring that its bicycles were parked within designated areas by using a QR-code system, ofo had also failed to reduce its bicycle fleet to the stipulated maximum size of 10,000 despite multiple warnings, LTA said in March. 

The deadline was extended to Mar 28 after ofo informed LTA that it was in "advanced stages of negotiations" to partner another party to resume operations and fulfil the conditions of its licence. Ofo did not comply with the regulatory requirements despite the extension.

The Alibaba-backed start-up was one of the most successful firms riding the bike-sharing boom, with valuations topping more than US$2 billion last year. 

READ: Commentary: The curious case of slick start-ups that tout billion-dollar valuations then rapidly collapse

At its peak, ofo had bike fleets in more than 20 countries, from France to Australia and the United States.

But a crash in the bike-sharing market saw the firm on the brink of bankruptcy, with ofo's chief executive Dai Wei saying last December that the start-up was facing "immense" cash flow problems.

Another China-based bike-sharing provider, Mobike, indicated last month that it wanted to exit the market, as it made an application to surrender its bicycle-sharing licence. 

“LTA is evaluating Mobike’s request," said the authority on Monday. "In the meantime, Mobike is continuing to operate as usual."

Source: CNA/ec(mi)

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