Bike-sharing operators must apply for licence by Jul 7 or shut down: LTA

Bike-sharing operators must apply for licence by Jul 7 or shut down: LTA

SINGAPORE: Bicycle-sharing companies are required to submit applications for a licence to operate in public places by Jul 7, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a news release on Friday (May 4).

The move comes after the tabling of the Parking Places (Amendment) Bill in March, a piece of legislation aimed at tackling the indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles.

LTA said on Friday that it will begin accepting licence applications from May 8. The licence allows bike-sharing companies such as ofo, oBike and Mobike to operate in public spaces for up to two years.

Existing operators that fail to submit an application by the deadline on Jul 7 will have to cease operations immediately. Unlicensed operators may be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to six months. They may also face a fine of S$500 for each day that the offence continues.

“In assessing the applications, LTA will consider, amongst other factors, the ability of the operator to manage indiscriminate parking by its users, its fleet utilisation rate, and other relevant factors such as the demand for the service and availability of parking spaces,” the regulator said in the release.

“Existing operators’ track record of managing indiscriminate parking will also be taken into account during LTA’s evaluation of their applications,” LTA said.

Under the new licensing regime tabled in March, LTA will impose conditions on the maximum fleet size for each operator.

The authority said it will take a “more conservative approach” in setting fleet sizes, given the scale of indiscriminate parking in Singapore.

“However, operators who are able to manage indiscriminate parking and ensure good bicycle utilisation will be allowed to grow their fleets over time,” LTA added.

Under the licensing framework, operators will be subjected to conditions and standards imposed by LTA. Regulatory action for breaches include a reduction fleet size, financial penalties of up to S$100,000 for each instance of non-compliance, suspension or revocation of licence.

Operators have to ensure that their users practise responsible parking.

This includes requiring users to scan the unique QR code at the parking location as proof of proper parking before they can end their trip, and continuously charging users who park indiscriminately, until they return the shared bicycle to a designated parking space.

Operators will also be required to share data with each other on users who park indiscriminately, and a collective ban will be imposed on recalcitrant users.

Users who are found to have parked indiscriminately at least three times in a calendar year will be banned for up to one year from using all bicycle-sharing services.

Source: CNA/aj