SINGAPORE: A brand-new licensing framework is being proposed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), which aims to solve errant parking of bicycles from bike sharing firms.
To date, LTA has collected about S$180,000 in fines and administrative fees from bicycle sharing operators, whose bikes have been found to be parked indiscriminately.
This was announced by Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min during Parliament on Monday (Feb 5).
So far, more than 2,100 removal notices have been issued while 341 bicycles have been impounded from May 2017 to Jan 2018.
LTA, NParks and the town councils had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with these bike companies, which sets out guidelines on the responsible operation of bicycle-sharing services in public spaces last year.
However, in stepping up its actions against the errant parking of shared bicycles, LTA will also be proposing legislative amendments later this month which would put in place a licensing framework requiring bike companies to remove indiscriminately parked bicycles on public land within a stipulated time period.
These companies will also be required to adopt schemes that will disincentivise users for indiscriminate parking. This may involve high-accuracy geo-fencing.
Dr Lam said more details of the licensing regime will be announced when ready.
FINING BIKE USERS THEMSELVES?
Raising a supplementary question, Member of Parliament (MP) for Mountbatten, Lim Biow Chuan, asked if errant bike users themselves should be penalised - comparing them to “litterbugs who throw cigarette butts”, who should be similarly fined.
Under the current Street Works Act, bicycle users who create obstructions by parking indiscriminately in public can be fined up to S$2,000.
Dr Lam, though, acknowledged the challenges in enforcing the fine due to the difficulty in catching indiscriminate users, with none caught so far.
He spoke about LTA’s five-pronged approach to the issue, which include providing more parking spaces for such dockless shared bikes – with the aim of creating up to 50,000 lots by 2020.
Dr Lam added that there are also steps to educate bike users on proper parking, as well as incentivising proper parking via geo-fencing. This is done alongside increased enforcement actions such as fining bike-sharing operators and setting up proper parking guidelines via the joint-MOU last year.
In response to MP Pritam Singh, who highlighted that town councils lack resources in ensuring requests to clear bicycles have been heeded by bike companies, Dr Lam said all this will be addressed via the proposed licensing framework.