SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Transport will assess the bids tendered for the bicycle sharing service to serve the Jurong Lake District “carefully”, and to see if it will extend them to other towns, amid the emergence of dockless bicycle sharing systems here.
This was announced by the Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng during the ministry’s Committee of Supply debate on Wednesday (Mar 8), as he pointed out how mobile technology is reshaping the bicycle sharing arena.
He said the ministry had studied schemes in cities like London, Paris and New York a few years back, and these are traditional ones with docking stations. It saw the potential, but some Government subsidy would be needed, so time was taken to work out how to fund this. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) eventually put out the tender last year, he added.
However, he acknowledged MP Ang Wei Neng’s observation on the emergence of dockless bicycle sharing systems provided by companies such as ofo and Obike. According to media reports, Chinese company ofo launched 1,000 bikes in areas such as Punggol, West Coast and the city area last month, while Singapore-based Obike has a few thousand bicycles around the island.
“These dockless systems allow users to hire and return a shared bicycle at any location. There are obvious advantages: Lower infrastructure costs, more convenience. The downside, however, is indiscriminate parking,” Mr Ng said.
“It is still not clear yet whether these new systems or the traditional ones will work better for Singapore.”