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  • Tactical Boots's Avatar
    11 posts since May '17
    • Originally posted by FireIce:

      A third bicycle sharing company wheeled its way into Singapore

      Just three weeks ago, we reported that Chinese bicycle-sharing start-up oBike quietly made its mark with its fleet of user-friendly bikes that have since expanded from MRT stations and into the neighborhoods (a sign that people are quickly picking up the trend). Now, there’s another new player in the game.

      Chinese company Ofo, which operates mainly in Beijing and Shanghai, has already released about 1,000 of their bikes to neighborhoods like West Coast and Punggol, as well as the CBD. Just like the other two competitor bike-sharing services MoBike (which recently received funding from Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and hedg funde Hillhouse Capital) and oBike, Ofo's bright yellow single-gear bikes have a lock on the real wheel which you can unlock through an app. Enter the bike’s unique serial number and you'll receive a passcode to enter into the lock. However, unlike oBike, you don't have to pay a deposit before going on a ride using Ofo’s bikes. They even have a super competitive fee of 50 cents per trip, compared to oBikes $1 per half hour. However, the downside is that its user interface doesn't have a map to show you where their bikes are available, something which oBike has already implemented in its app.

      With these three bike-sharing services and Land Transport Authority’s proposed national bike-sharing pilot that’s slated to launch in the fourth quarter, you can soon get from Jurong to Punggol via the city’s park connectors and cycling networks without having to invest in your own bicycle (just your own fitness!). More info on Ofo bikes here.


      Was wondering the difference between Ofo and O bikes fees. Good summary. 

  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    265,903 posts since Dec '99
    • Ofo's bike and app updates will improve your next ride experience in Singapore 

      Bike-sharing is taking off in a big way in Singapore, and Ofo is stepping up to meet consumer demands. On this front, they’re introducing a new bike to their stable. 500 of them in fact.

      The Aura 1.0 comes with three speed gears to tackle whatever terrain you feel like taking on, new adjustable handlebars, and an upgraded brake system to help you stop safely. If you’re using the bike to run errands, you’ll appreciate the new aluminium basket and cup holder to keep your hands free. Simply put, it should be a more comfortable ride. The new bike comes with a more secure lock and syncs with the app via Bluetooth to unlock in less than three seconds so you can get riding right away.

      But every bike-sharing app user knows it’s not just about the bike; it’s as much about the app experience itself. After listening to feedback, the app now allows you to locate nearby unused bikes so looking for a ride is easier. You can also map your route thanks to connectivity with Google Maps and be notified of nearby parking zones, so no excuses for chucking the bike just anywhere now.

      In the interest of stopping rampant bike abuse, users will need to make a one-time deposit of $39 upon updating the app, and rides will start at $1 per hour, capped at $2 for the whole journey. That’s still a pretty good deal and plenty worth it if it means everyone gets a good working Ofo bike to ride. You'll be able to get your deposit back in your account after seven working days should you request for a refund

      Got all that? Now you just need to find one of those new bikes to experience all of this for yourself. Ride safe and treat the bike nice. 

      Download Ofo on iOS or Android.

      This story originally appeared on Stuff Singapore, bringing you what's next in the world of tech and gadgets, with a twist.


  • QX179R's Avatar
    85,117 posts since Feb '08
    • New bicycle parking zones at Bedok, Sembawang, City Hall

      SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday (Jun 9) announced more bicycle parking zones in places such as  Bedok, Loyang, Sembawang and City Hall.

      In a Facebook post, LTA said the parking zones will provide close to 200 additional bicycle parking spaces.

      In March, it introduced bicycle parking zones to Punggol, Hougang, Paya Lebar, Khatib, Sembawang, Pioneer and Lakeside.

      Following reports of indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles in front of staircases, blocking fire escape routes and corridors, LTA said it is working with bicycle-sharing operators to incentivise users to park responsibly. "Strict enforcement action will be taken against all indiscriminately parked bicycles, so park your bicycles at the designated parking zones!" LTA added.

      Source: CNA/ly

  • Eunice is nice's Avatar
    13 posts since Jun '17
    • The rise of sharing economy – boon or bane in Singapore

      Singapore bought into the sharing economy dream early, but as established industries feel the pressure of new sharing schemes, has the dream become a nightmare?

      By Oliver Ward

      Bike sharing has exploded in popularity across Singapore, but delving deeper down the rabbit hole of a sharing economy opens yet another industry up to the pitfalls and damage that comes with it.

      The new bike sharing scheme has been a hit among commuters. Mobike, ofo and oBike, are being pedalled as the “Uber for bicycles”. The bike sharing scheme certainly shares similarities with the ride sharing goliath. They both offer a user-friendly service at excellent value for money. But they share a more sinister trait. If left unregulated, they both have the ability to destroy established industries.

      The sharing economy grew rapidly in Singapore

      The sharing economy is a ship of titanic proportions, PricewaterhouseCoopers say the industry is worth US$15 billion today and will be worth as much as US$35 billion by 2025. Singapore was an early adopter of the sharing economy, with global giants like Uber. Airbnb and Tripda establishing themselves in Singapore from 2012.

      The rise of Uber has been at the forefront of the transition to a sharing economy in Singapore. They both have their regional headquarters in the city. Car ownership is at an eight-year low, as more and more people opt to use technology to match cars to commuters when needed. The number of rental cars on Singapore’s roads increased by 38% to 24,573 between 2014 and 2015, and reached 36,002 in May of 2016.

      But it was not only international giants which caused the sharing economy explosion in Singapore. Companies like iCarsClub, which was founded in Singapore to rival Uber in 2012, has gone from strength to strength. It allows the 120,000 private car owners using the site to rent out their cars, giving them an income boost, and offering renters a lower cost car rental service.

      iCarsClub raised US$10 million in funding from series A back in 2014 which allowed them to break into the Chinese market. Four months later they raised a further US$60 million from series B. They received a further US$315 million in additional investment from the National Research Foundation in 2015.

      Grab also drove Singapore and ASEAN nation into new economic frontiers. The e-hailing taxi app began in Malaysia in 2012 and by just 2015, the app had been downloaded more than 4.4 million times and was averaging seven bookings a second. By 2016 the app reached 13 million downloads and was valued at US$1.5 billion. Their bookings between 2015 and 2016 grew by more than 5 times according to their annual report.

      Grab’s valuation (US$ billion)

      It has crushed established industries

      The rise of the sharing economy promised shared assets, a reduced carbon footprint and more flexible jobs. But the reality has been quite different.

      More than 1,620 cs now sit idle as companies like Uber and Grab are destroying the local taxi industry. The hotel and hospitality industry is under similar pressures. There are now over 6,000 listings on Airbnb in Singapore, severely encroaching on local hotels’ profits. The first quarter of 2017 has seen revenue per available room continue to drop by 0.8%.

      Year-on-year growth rate of hotel revenue per available room (%)

      Source: SBR

      Protests have taken place across Southeast Asia. Taxi drivers in Jakarta and Taipei protested the introduction of Uber last year.

      Uber has come under fire for exploiting their workers. Their workers are not entitled to a minimum wage or other worker rights. The promised job flexibility has come at the cost of job security.

      Airbnb have been linked with a shortage of affordable housing and the rise of illegal hotels. Former Minister for National Development, Khaw Boon Wan weighed in on the issue of Airbnb in a blog post. He said they were “not a good idea” as neighbours would not want to see their neighbourhood becoming a hotel district.

      Left unchecked, these companies will take Singapore down a road of increased inequality, worker exploitation and putting thousands of jobs at risk. Instead of prosperity, the rise of the sharing economy has only compounded inequality. A select few at the top get richer, while workers have to settle for less rights, less stability and, in many cases, lower pay.

      How can a sharing economy deliver mutual prosperity?

      recent study from BSR Consulting found that government collaboration was essential in creating a sharing economy that works for everyone. They outlined the need for government regulation to create a human-centred approach. This would create stable, fairly-paid jobs with employee benefits and rights.

      Other ASEAN nations are already collaborating to ensure sharing platforms can be of benefit to everyone. The Philippines government and the World Bank collaborated with the ride-sharing app, Grab in 2016 to share the driver GPS information and use it address traffic and congestion issues.

      It is no coincidence that countries like the Philippines, where collaboration is being explored, there is significantly less public resistance than in Taiwan and Indonesia, where the sharing economy remains unregulated.

      Legislation has begun to be passed to curb the negative effects of the sharing economy

      Governmental approaches in Singapore have been more focussed on curbing the disruption, than by forging a mutually beneficial relationship, as seen in the Philippines.

      In February Singapore passed new regulations allowing officials the right to force their way into homes suspected of being rented out illegally. Currently, the Singaporean law forbids landlords from renting out private property for a period of less than six months.

      Between 2013 and 2014 more than 13,000 inspections were carried out but only 24 flat owners were charged with unauthorised subletting. With the new powers this figure should increase dramatically, as officials now have increased powers to inspect and detain those involved. Those found guilty can now be fined up to S$200,000 (US$143,000) and spend up to a year in prison.

      The government also introduced measures to curb ride sharing. Uber and Grab drivers are now required to get a vocational licence or risk being fined. “I know a lot of people will give back their keys, that’s for sure” said Uber driver, Lionel Ong, who is abandoning his part-time job as an Uber driver to find something less demanding.

      What does the future look like for the sharing economy?

      Singapore’s answer to Airbnb, Roomarama, has also gone from strength to strength. They have moved into European and American markets through the acquisition of a French start-up. The sharing economy is still a new phenomenon but it is evidently here to stay.

      Governments are still grappling with legislation aimed at harnessing the new technologies in a way that generates wealth for everyone. The future is bright for a sharing economy. Flexible working hours and a lower carbon footprint offer a promising future, but without regulation, the road which takes us there will be littered with the hollowed-out corpses of established industries.

  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    265,903 posts since Dec '99
  • QX179R's Avatar
    85,117 posts since Feb '08
    • Mobike announces Mastercard partnership, unveils new bicycle model for Singapore

      SINGAPORE: Bike-sharing company Mobike inked an exclusive partnership with Mastercard on Thursday (Jul 6) to integrate its Masterpass digital payment offering with the former's app. It also unveiled a new bicycle model for Singapore.

      Mobike said in a press release that the integration of Masterpass with the Mobike app will allow riders to make "fast and secure in-app payments".

      It will also "bring tangible insights into the way urban residents travel, and enable local city planners to examine Singapore’s transportation systems and how they can be made smarter and more flexible", it added.

      To celebrate having passed its 100th day of operations in Singapore on Jun 28, the Chinese bike-sharing company also announced all-day free rides for users in Singapore until Jul 31.

      The company said there has been "strong support" for its services so far, with local riders cycling an average of 2.7km using its bicycles. The longest distance cycled in a single trip was 108km, it added.

      On Thursday, the bike-sharing service provider also announced it is introducing a newly designed model to the Singapore market featuring three gears, an adjustable seat "for comfortable riding" and solar-powered headlights. In response to Channel NewsAsia queries, the company clarified that some of these new bikes have already been deployed.

      Source: CNA/mz

  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    265,903 posts since Dec '99
    • Shift gears with Mobike’s latest ride

      Mobike’s come a long way in just 100 days since its launch in Singapore. With a total mileage of 147,000km and working their way to 10,000 bikes locally, it’s definitely a cause for celebration. Just as the Chinese traditionally throw a party on a child’s 100th day, Mobike’s thrown one too to unveil a new bike model and a collaboration with Mastercard. 

      A new bike with gears

      Mobike’s listened to the riders. While it doesn’t look too different, its new features are surely welcome. The new bike features Shimano Nexus 3-speed gears that meet the terrain requirements of Singapore. It’s going to provide a much more comfortable ride, especially when cycling uphill.

      To meet Singapore’s strict safety regulations, the lights are now brighter and redesigned. It’s even solar-powered, no longer battery-operated, so safety is assured.

      And finally, we have a public bike with adjustable seats. No more toe-tipping to reach the pedals, or if you’re really tall, bending down for better balance. 

      Perks Galore

      All Mobike rides are free for the entire month of July, so ride away!

      Mobike’s got plenty more goodies in store as well. To encourage responsible ridership, incentives are given to riders who park bikes in high intensity areas or designated areas. Those who do may enjoy “red packets” in the form of discounts and coupons on subsequent rides. Incorporating the Mobike brand into leisure riding is another vision for the company, and to achieve that, they’ve planted “treasure boxes” for riders to discover and be rewarded. 

      Next stop for MoBike?

      Soon, Mobike users can look forward to in-app payments via Masterpass, Mastercard’s global digital payment platform thanks to their new collaboration. You’re probably thinking, "not another one!", but their tie-in makes a lot of sense.

      The goal is to use one single platform that settles ticketing and payment for all types of commute. Mobike is just a piece of Mastercard’s big idea to link up various forms of transport seamlessly with their Masterpass solution. Hopefully by year’s end, commuters can enjoy using their phones, wearables and a myriad of options to “unlock” travel in the city, paying for public buses, MRTs and bikes with a device of their choice. It’s fast, secure and definitely convenient.

      Their signature orange and grey bikes may not be the easiest to find locally for now, but we were given a glimpse into the serious infrastructure and economies of scale Mobike has under its belt that could truly set itself apart in months to come. From pin-point accurate GPS-tracking that provides crucial data and usage patterns, to unlimited bikes at their disposal and operating in over 130 cities, the leaders of bike-sharing don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. 

      This story originally appeared on Stuff Singapore, bringing you what's next in the world of tech and gadgets, with a twist.

  • QX179R's Avatar
    85,117 posts since Feb '08
    • 278 dockless bicycles impounded so far in 2017: LTA

      SINGAPORE: A total of 278 dockless bicycles have been impounded by authorities so far this year, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Thursday (Aug 3).

      In a Facebook post, LTA said its Active Mobility Enforcement Officers (AMEOs) have impounded 212 oBikes, 65 Mobikes, and one ofo bike. In July itself, 70 dockless bikes that were parked indiscriminately and not removed within the notice period were impounded.

      LTA also reminded bike-sharing users to park in designated spaces so that subsequent riders can easily locate the bikes, and to minimise obstruction and inconvenience to path users.

      In April, oBike introduced a points system to penalise users who illegally park and bike hog. Ofo bike also launched a credit system in June after some of its users were arrested for abusing the dockless bicycles.

      Source: CNA/ad

  • Ssingaputra's Avatar
    15 posts since Jul '17
  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    265,903 posts since Dec '99
    • oBike raises US$45M in Series B to catch up with the speeding Mobike and Ofo


      Since its launch in Singapore in January this year, oBike has rolled out in Australia, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK

      Singapore-based bike-sharing startup oBike has secured US$45 million in Series B investment from a slew of investors investors, including a leading unnamed global transportation platform.

      Grishin Robotics, a VC fund owned by Dmitry Grishin (Co-founder and chairman of Russia’s Mail.Ru Group) and several family offices in Southeast Asia also co-invested in the round.

      The company said in a statement it will use the funds to shift its gears to become a global player.

       “We aim to bring our success story in Singapore to other parts of the world with this round of funding. We hope to empower commuters globally with flexibility, convenience while helping them reduce their carbon footprint at the same time,” oBike Co-founder and CMO Edward Chen said.

      oBike is a station-less smart bike-sharing company that allows commuters to travel during one-way first- and last-mile commuting – via bicycles located all over the island. Since its launch in Singapore in January, the company has rolled out in Australia, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK.

      All its bikes are environmentally-friendly.

      The company recently said it would be introducing 1,000 new bicycles to its existing fleet. Dubbed Smart Generation, these bicycles are 5kg lighter than its predecessor. In addition to being lighter, the new bicycles have ergonomic handlebar, enabling a more user-friendly and smoother ride.

      Bike-sharing is fast-becoming a culture of sorts in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore. And the sector has been attracting massive rounds of funding over the past few months. Majority of the companies operating in Singapore are headquartered in China, including Mobike and Ofo.

      In July. Ofo raised over US$700 million in Series E funding led by Alibaba Group, Hony Capital, and CITIC Private Equity, bringing its total funding raised to date to over US$1 billion. In June, Mobike, another bike-sharing giant raised over US$600 million in a Series E round led by long-time backer Tencent.




      The post oBike raises US$45M in Series B to catch up with the speeding Mobike and Ofoappeared first on e27.

    • Newly-launched bike-sharing company SG Bike aims to target indiscriminate parking


      Another bicycle-sharing firm entered the fray on Thursday (Aug 24) as the fourth such company to officially launch here,and with a new way to curb indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles.

      The local entrant, SG Bike, differentiates itself from the competition by having users park around a device called a "geostation".

      The geostation emits a radio-frequency identification (RFID) field that recognises if SG Bike bicycles are parked around them.

      The field's radius ranges from 5m to 25m around each geostation, and the parking zone is marked by a painted yellow box. The range in geostations at Housing Board void decks is 5m.

      If a bicycle is parked outside the zone, it will emit an alarm sound and the user's app will notify them to move the bike into the zone, or else they will face a penalty fee. The Straits Times understands the fee, yet to be decided, will range between $2 and $5.

      It costs $1 to rent a bicycle for 30 minutes, with overtime users charged on a per minute basis. Users who get an SG Bike account can unlock the bicycles with their phones, a card mailed to them, or their own ez-link cards.


      The SG Bike geostation emits a radio frequency identification (RFID) field which bike users must park within, or else they will be fined. ST PHOTO: JOSE HONG


      Indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles by users has been an issue in recent months after their introduction this year by three bike sharing companies - ofo, oBike and MoBike.

      The two-wheelers, which are typically unlocked using a mobile app and do not have to be returned to fixed docking stations, have also been strewn on footpaths and at the exits of private condominium estates, Land Transport Authority (LTA) officers said in a report in June.

      In July, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament that the bike-sharing companies will have to moderate the growth of bicycles, with a population of between 29,000 and 30,000 then.

      He said that the Government will work with these companies to ensure the population of bicycles is "commensurate with the availability of public parking places".

      "This is to prevent excessive indiscriminate parking, as well as disamenities to the public," he said, noting that LTA had served around 1,000 notices for illegally parked bicycles at the time.

      The operators are given half a day to remove them, after which the bicycles are impounded.

      Dr Lam said that LTA has been coordinating with other government agencies and town councils to "align the approach against indiscriminate parking of shared bicycles".

      As for SG Bike's new bicycle sharing service, it is limited to Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council for now, and there will be around 300 bicycles and geostations in places such as MRT stations, housing board blocks and bus stops there by the end of the month.

      Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, and Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West Community Development Council, were the guests of honour at the opening ceremony of the bicycle sharing service at Block 124 Pending Road.



    • Bike-sharing takes off among youth in major Asian cities: survey


      Orange, yellow and other brightly coloured bikes have been popping up in cities across Asia, surprising residents and frequent visitors with their sudden ubiquity outside train stations and condo gates over the last two years.

      The bikes, which users can rent for around S$1 an hour or less via mobile phone apps, are meant to complete the last kilometre or more of a journey, and are also being used for outings in urban parks and trips to the supermarket.

      The two biggest bike-share operators, China-owned Ofo and Mobike, plan to be in more than 200 cities by end-2017 and end-2018, respectively. They will have a combined total of nearly 30 million bikes in operation by the end of this year, having together attracted more than $2 billion in funding.

      "We will consider expanding into any city where our smart bike solution can address local transportation needs and where we have ... support from local officials," said Florian Bohnert, head of global partnerships at Mobike.

      In an informal survey by Thomson Reuters across Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and Singapore, 60 bike-share users talked about how the services had changed their travel patterns.

      Eighteen per cent of survey respondents - 11 out of 60 - said they were using the bikes instead of taking cars, taxis or motorcycles, a sign that some are moving away from carbon-intensive vehicles.

      The other 82 per cent would have walked or taken public transport, the survey showed.

      Among the five cities, users in Beijing were the most committed, with six out of 15 respondents riding shared bikes daily, and the other nine using the bikes several times a week.

      In Shanghai, five out of 10 people surveyed used a shared bike daily or several times a week.

      Most of the respondents were males in the 20-40 age group. About half of the respondents used the bikes to commute to work or school.

      Singapore had the highest percentage of people who changed from a private car or taxi to a bicycle. Taipei came in second, and Beijing and Shanghai tied for third.

      All the respondents in Seoul switched from public transport or walking to the app-leased bikes, although the city-backed service there used docking stations instead of free-range bikes.

      "It's super cheap and convenient and there are stations everywhere. It's easy to use and it's a bit of exercise too,"said office worker Park Yong Won, 30, who cycled 1,000 km in the past year.



    • Android users can now top-up oBike ride credits through EZ-Link card


      From today (3rd October 2017) onwards, the EZ-Link card designed for buses and MRT rides can be used to pay for oBike rides. To top-up their oBike wallet, a user needs only to tap their contactless card against their Android OS smartphone when they are in the bike-sharing app.

      "As a homegrown and leading bike-sharing operator in Singapore, oBike is thrilled to partner EZ-Link in supporting all Singaporeans on their journeys; whether it is on their first or last mile commute, or simply having a family day out. With the added convenience of being able to top up their oBike wallets via EZ-Link, we hope to empower all users across ages and lifestyle needs, to travel seamlessly whenever they hop on an oBike,” said Mr. Edward Chen, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of oBike.

      Paying via EZ-Link card require the user to top-up their oBike wallets with the contactless card.

      Paying via EZ-Link card require the user to top-up their oBike wallets with the contactless card.


      The option to pay via EZ-Link card will appear as a top-up option in the oBike app. A user can move digital cash from their card to the app by selecting “EZ-Link M-Payment” when it’s available as an option. There are no extra charges should a user choose to top-up and pay with EZ-Link cards. In the future, oBike will support the refunding of said credits back into the EZ-Link card. This payment solution is the effort of MGG Software.

      oBike's new payment method isn’t the only bike-sharing service that allows EZ-Link card payments. SG Bikes, a local bike-sharing startup firm, adopts a different implementation: you can eliminate the smartphone from the equation since SG Bikes lets you link an EZ-Link card to the app. Rides can be completed with just a contactless card, and the card can be subsequently shared across different riders.

    • Bike-sharing firms set to tackle errant parking


      Bike-sharing firms have agreed to use technology that determines if their two-wheelers are left in designated zones, in a bid to halt the indiscriminate parking that has led to complaints.

      Though two companies already do, all five operators must now have a geo-fencing feature - which creates a virtual boundary that can send out an alert when a bike enters or leaves an area - by the end of the year, according to an agreement they signed with the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

      The National Parks Board and all 16 town councils are also part of the agreement, which will require bikes to be parked within designated zones in Housing Board (HDB) estates, parks and park connectors, and at MRT stations and bus stops.

      The LTA is also studying the use of infrastructure to enhance the accuracy of the geo-fencing, as well as the possibility of common standards for its use.

      The firms - SG Bike, GBikes, Mobike, oBike and ofo - which have about 30,000 bikes between them, welcomed the move by the authorities, saying this would help them strengthen current measures against inconsiderate parking, such as jacking up the price for users who have poor track records.

      SG Bike and GBikes both have a geo-fencing system.

      Mobike country manager Sharon Meng said its geo-fencing solution will be in place by next month, while ofo will introduce its feature by the end of the year.

      National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said that while geo-fencing will not ensure the end to misuse of the bike-sharing system, the agreement showed firms were committed to resolving issues of indiscriminate parking.

      Since shared bikes made their debut in January, complaints have surfaced about them being parked haphazardly.

      In the first seven months, 278 bikes were impounded for indiscriminate parking by the LTA. Other forms of abuse have also surfaced, with two reported cases of shared bikes being thrown from the upper floors HDB blocks.

      On top of the impound fee, firms face fines for not removing badly parked bikes in a timely manner. In the agreement, firms will also have to take faulty bikes off the road within a day and provide public liability insurance for users.

      Operators have also agreed to share anonymous trip data with the LTA, that will allow the authority to see high usage areas to determine where parking zones and cycling paths should be allocated. The terms of the agreement will also extend to personal mobility devices or e-bikes, should the firms offer them in the future.

      The LTA said it will continue to take action against indiscriminate parking and will consider stronger measures against firms that do not abide by the agreement.



    • Baicycle - a different spin on bike-sharing


      Another dockless bike-sharing service - this time backed by Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi - is expected to make its debut by the end of the year in what is becoming an increasingly crowded market.

      Baicycle will be the sixth operator - following ofo, MoBike, oBike, SG Bike and GBikes - to provide Singaporeans with two-wheelers which can be rented from and returned to any parking spot using a mobile app.

      The name is a play on the Chinese word "bai", meaning white - the colour of its bicycles.

      Baicycle, available in China and Japan, will be brought to Singapore by Xiaobai Technology, a local company started by Mr Terence Tan, who also runs Eco Biz International, a decade-old Singapore firm specialising in mobility devices.

      But with at least 30,000 shared bicycles already in the market, it may be an uphill ride to gain a market share, said observers.

      Asked about this, Mr Tan said its business model is different as Baicycle will offer shared electric bicycles and e-scooters, on top of regular bikes. "Because of the hot weather and ageing population, we want more products to serve customers," he told The Straits Times.

      Mr Tan, 58, said it will roll out 2,000 conventional bicycles when the service is launched. Next year, Mr Tan targets to have a combined 10,000 e-bikes and e-scooters available to riders, and he said their exact numbers will depend on demand from users.

      He added that the firm has 200 regular bicycles here already, which it is using to test out its geo-fencing technology. The technology creates a virtual boundary that sends out an alert when a bike enters or leaves an area and is meant to end indiscriminate parking.

      It was announced last week that the five other bike-sharing firms have signed an agreement with the authorities to use similar technology by the end of this year.

      Mr Tan declined to reveal how Baicycle's e-bikes or e-scooters, which are battery-powered, will be charged in between rentals, or how much rentals will cost.

      But Chinese business technology website TMTpost quoted Baicycle co-founder He Xiangming in January as saying that the service will work with quick-charging points and battery replacement centres set up at convenience stores.

      National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng questions if the bike-sharing market is sustainable.

      Dr Lee said bike-sharing aims to tackle the first-and last-mile commute but this is not a major issue in Singapore because of public transport and covered walkways in Housing Board towns, which 80 per cent of the population reside in. Asked about Baicycle, he said: "It sounds very attractive but whether this can translate into a positive user experience, we will need to observe."

      A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Baicycle - a different spin on bike-sharing'.
    • oBike launches geofencing feature for its shared bicycles to curb indiscriminate parking http://str.sg/4Fxe 

  • QX179R's Avatar
    85,117 posts since Feb '08
    • oBike to launch own cryptocurrency that lets users pay for rides, earn as they ride

      SINGAPORE: Local bikesharing company oBike will launch its own cryptocurrency called oCoins in the first quarter of next year, the company said in a press release on Tuesday (Dec 26).

      The company will be partnering with blockchain platform TRON to roll out these oCoins, which users will be able to use to pay for their rides and top up their oBike wallets.

      In addition, users will generate oCoins whenever they ride on oBike - the longer they ride, the more oCoins they earn, oBike said.

      They will also be able to use the cryptocurrency on applications on TRON's platform including on audio content community Peiwo and live-streaming app Uplive.

      “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with TRON, a leading decentralised online content entertainment system," said oBike's co-founder and chief marketing officer Edward Chen.

      "The collaboration with TRON will enable oBike users to generate and earn oCoins, which can then be used on apps and online content purchases."

      The blockchain platform's founder Justin Sun said the company was excited about the partnership and were "certain that the TRON ecosystem will appeal to oBike users with its widespread popularity".

      TRON is a blockchain-based, decentralised online content platform which lets content creators freely publish, store and own data.

      Its cryptocurrency, called TRONIX (TRX), is ranked number 18 worldwide in the list of cryptocurrencies, according to the press release.

      TRX has a market capacity of US$2.6 billion and is currently trading at US$0.04, it added.

      Source: CNA/nc

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    • oBike has just rolled out its own delivery service

      Bicycle sharing service oBike wasn’t the first to penetrate our market, but it's definitely one that has been consistently evolving since its debut last Feb. Just a couple weeks back, they announced that that they'll be launching their own cryptocurrency called oCoins. And now, they’ve just pushed out a new delivery service called oBike Flash.

      Unfortunately, it’s not that kind of delivery service where you can order food from your favorite restaurants and hawkers stalls or groceries from the supermarket to be sent to your place; you can stick to the usual suspects for that. Instead, oBike Flash is more of a courier service where you can get stuff—anything ranging from documents and small packages to food and clothes; as long as it’s 10kg or less—delivered between two points under two hours. Each delivery will cost $10 if it's within a five-kilometer radius, and an additional 30 cents per kilometer thereafter (up to 10km). However, if you're making a delivery between 11pm-7am, you'll have to fork out 50 cents per kilometer instead if it's between 10-20km.

      We're not too sure how oBike Flash is going to fare in our market, especially when there are so many other courier services like local start-up GoGoVan and industry giants Speedpost; which means that they really need to stand out to win consumers over. Nonetheless, we applaud this new expansion, especially when competitors like Ofo and Mobike have other things, like ride hailing, in their pipeline. We’re also pretty confident that we’ll start seeing massive complaints about the service once people start trying it out, especially since its main business is still bicycle sharing.

    • Here comes Singapore’s first mountain-bike sharing service

      Just when you thought Singapore’s had enough bike sharing services to go around, another one pops up. But this one’s a little different—instead of offering bikes to use in urban areas and neighborhoods like the five other services, these guys have set themselves apart by offering mountain bikes. Meet ShareBikeSG, Singapore's only mountain bike-sharing service.

      The company was born out of pure passion by the owner of Aire MTB, a little shed over at Chestnut Nature Park which offers mountain bicycle rentals to anyone who’s up for a little adventure. With the arrival of bike-sharing services since last year, 30-year-old Ethan Tan decided to snuff out the competition by starting this bike-sharing service to bring convenience to those who want to ride in the park. Unlike the conventional bikes used from other services, these come with front suspension and seven gears; good for off-road riding in parks and biking trails (Chestnut Nature Park itself has a trail stretching more than 8km).

      At the moment, there are only 300 bikes to go around and are currently located at places like Chestnut Nature Park, Gardens by the Bay and Marina Barrage. The frames of each of these bikes were designed by Tan himself, just like the ones being rented out at Aire MTB. It’s also fuss-free to rent—the ShareBikeSG uses an app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. All you need to do is pay a refundable deposit of $9.90 (only until Jan 31; usual price $49), find a bike on the app, scan the QR code on the bike to unlock and you’re good to go. The rental prices are pretty competitive too ($1 for every half an hour), so bike to it. 

    • oBike will integrate GrabPay into its app

      It is an alliance between giants from two transport industries — one powered by two wheels and other by four wheels (and gas).

      Today, oBike has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Grab to integrate the latter’s mobile payment platform, GrabPay, into its app. This will give oBike users a second option to pay for rides. Currently, they pay by topping up credits in their oBike wallet, which they do via credit/debit or EZ-link cards.

      This initiative is currently localised to Singapore and will potentially convert oBike’s one million local riders to Grab users.

      Using GrabPay, oBike users will also be able to earn GrabReward points, which can be used to redeem products such as Starbucks vouchers or Singapore Airline’s KrisFlyer miles.

      An official press statement stated that two more joint initiatives between Grab and oBike, which are aimed at improving the “on-demand transport infrastructure in Singapore”, are currently in the works. oBike did not provide further information.

      “I believe that this partnership, between two market leaders, is a natural extension of our goal to enhance the bike-sharing experience for commuters and strengthen our position as Singapore’s first bike-sharing operator,” said Tim Phang, General Manager, oBike Singapore.

      Late last year, Grab began trialling its full-suite version of GrabPay, allowing users to use the mobile wallet to make payments at offline merchants, such as hawker stalls and retail stores; it also enables users to conduct p2p money transfers.

      Like Alibaba’s Alipay or Tencent’s WeChat payment, Grab wants to build an ecosystem where users can make all (or at least, most) transactions on one universal payment platform. Doing so will allow Grab to supercharge growth in its rider-base, ensure riders’ loyalty, as well as generate revenue outside its primary ride-hailing business.

    • Can Bike Sharing Services in Singapore Really Help You Save Money? http://bit.ly/2H9Xy4F 

    • Grab a bicycle, as GrabCycle looks set to ride into town


      Ride-hailing firm Grab could be making a major foray into the bicycle-sharing industry, two months after it first announced a partnership with homegrown operator oBike.

      Since then, there have been hints that it could be riding into the turf dominated by Ofo, Mobike, and oBike. On Monday (Mar 5), Grab posted a teaser on its Facebook page about an announcement on Friday with the tagline, “Something wheelie exciting is coming”. In its invitation for a media event, the company hinted at a “single app” that allows users to “explore the alleyways and neighbourhoods of Singapore with just a few taps”.

      Pictures of oBike bicycles sporting GrabCycle livery have been making their rounds on social media since the two companies announced the tie-up in January.

      A check by TODAY with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) found that a company called GrabCycle (SG) Pte Ltd was registered last November. The company was listed as an “app-enabled market place for bike sharing”, and a “bike and e-bike rental service”. It was registered under the names of Grab co-founder Anthony Tan and Ms Joanna Teng, who were listed as GrabCycle’s director and secretary, respectively.

      Grab and oBike were tightlipped about GrabCycle and Friday’s announcement when contacted by TODAY. However, oBike general manager Tim Phang said that there are currently “two initiatives” in the works under the partnership.

      In response to queries, a Grab spokesman said: “We are always exploring new mobility options to add to our suite of transport offerings. This includes our partnership with oBike to promote bike-riding as an alternative first- and last-mile commute across the island.”

      While analysts said Grab’s entry into bike-sharing is a logical move, they believe the company is unlikely to enter an already saturated market on its own. Instead, it is more likely to either partner or buy over an existing player.

      Dr Walter Theseira, transport economist from the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), noted that it “makes sense” for Grab to go into bike-sharing as they want users to “think of their platform first when it comes to any sort of service related to transport, or even related to payments”.

      Adjunct Associate Professor Zafar Momin from Nanyang Technological University’s Nanyang Business School added: “By partnering oBike, Grab potentially builds a bigger critical mass of customers and gets them conditioned to using GrabPay and other Grab services. The upfront payment model for cycles could also help their cash flow.”

      In their January press release, oBike said that users would be able to use GrabReward points when paying for their rides using Grab’s e-payment platform, GrabPay, in the coming months.

      Some experts felt that there should not be a separate app for GrabCycle, as Dr Theseira said that customers would likely prefer oBike’s services to be integrated into the Grab app.

      SUSS transport researcher Park Byung Joon, however, noted that it would be better for Grab’s payment platform to be integrated in the oBike app instead. “If it’s (oBike services being integrated into Grab), Grab users might find the app too cumbersome – slower in loading, etc,” he said.

      Dr Theseira also said that GrabCycle could help reduce overcapacity in the bike-sharing market. He added: “If a ride-hailing company ties up with more than one bike provider, that might be the kind of step you need to rationalise the market a bit.

      “The way the market works now, it’s not clear that any of the providers can make any money, because there are too many of them and there are too many bicycles in the market.”

      The tie-ups are already in overseas markets, as Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing announced in January plans to launch a bike-sharing platform within its own app. Starting with users in Beijing and Shenzhen, the platform will combine services from bike-sharing firms Bluegogo and Ofo, as well as its upcoming “own-branded bike-sharing service”.

      However, Dr Theseira was unsure if GrabCycle will take off here, as he pointed out that unlike in China or European cities where there are many restrictions on driving your car in the city, private-hire cars and taxis are able to reach many parts of Singapore.

      As Grab looks to expand on its offerings here, there are concerns that the firm could monopolise the transport industry. Mr Tham Chen Munn, an analyst with transport solutions firm PTV Group, said there are no grounds for concern as transport is still regulated by the Land Transport Authority.

      “I’d be more concerned if it’s in cities like Jakarta because it could lead to monopoly and setting high prices,” he added.

      But Adj Assoc Prof Zafar pointed out that there could be potential risk of monopolistic behaviour if Grab acquires rival Uber’s South-east Asian business, as that could lead to higher prices for consumers. It was reported last month that Uber is preparing to sell its ride-hailing business in the region to Grab in return for a substantial stake in the company. 


    • Move to license bike-sharing to curb illegal parking problem


      The problem of indiscriminately parked shared bicycles could soon be a thing of the past, after the Parking Places (Amendment) Bill was tabled in Parliament yesterday.

      With the proposed changes, operators of dockless shared devices, including shared bikes such as oBike, Mobike and ofo, will come under a licensing regime under the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

      LTA will determine the operator's fleet size by limiting how many devices the operator can have. This limit will be reviewed every six months, based on how well operators can manage illegal parking and how efficient their fleet is.

      Their ability to increase fleets will also be subject to demand, the operator's track record to meet licence conditions and the availability of parking spaces nationwide.

      It is estimated there are currently 100,000 dockless shared bicycles here. Only half of them are in active use.

      LTA said in a statement yesterday that bike-sharing is still causing "significant social disamenities" despite its efforts to increase parking spaces and encourage bike-sharing operators to be responsible.

      It will start accepting applications for licences in mid-2018, and aims to issue them by the end of the year.

      Unlicensed operators can be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to six months.

      LTA will also have more muscle to ensure operators curb the illegal parking problem.

      Operators will have to share data with LTA, including the location of each bicycle. This will enable LTA to take action against operators with illegally parked bikes.

      Those who do not meet LTA's standards will face stiff penalties, such as a fine of up to $100,000, a reduction of their fleet size, and even have their licences suspended or cancelled.

      From the second half of this year, LTA will also be installing unique QR codes at all public bicycle parking areas. Operators must ensure users scan these codes before ending their trip.

      Actions will also be taken against users who flout the rules. Those who repeatedly park illegally will be banned from all device-sharing services temporarily. They can also be continuously charged by operators for the time that they have illegally parked.

      Mobike and ofo told The New Paper that they are in favour of the changes.

      Mr Christopher Hilton, ofo's head of policy and communications in South-east Asia, said it will work with LTA and other partners to ensure that its bikes are used "respectfully" and in a way that "maintains the cleanliness and order of the environment in Singapore".

      Mobike Singapore's country manager Sharon Meng said: "We appreciate LTA's support of bike-sharing... and we are in favour of developing a healthy market environment."

      She added that Mobike has continually shared data and analytics with LTA.

      But oBike Singapore's general manager Tim Phang told TNP: "While we welcome guidelines by the authorities, the move to introduce licensing regimes instead of educating users places a heavy burden on start-ups, which in turn means that bike-sharing users will suffer. This will mean that existing public and private transport options will be forced to capacity and put the brakes on moving Singapore towards a car-lite future."

      Transport economist Walter Theseira from the Singapore University of Social Sciences said operators have been increasing their fleet quickly because, to them, it is the "best and cheapest" way to expand.

      But doing this has led to current parking problems.

      "With these changes, operators have to run their bikes competitively and nurture consumer behaviour before they can expand. Just adding more bikes will not be the solution," he said. And once this option is taken away, operators could run into issues in growing their business as they might not be prepared or equipped to find innovative solutions to expand in other ways, Dr Theseira added.

    • Bike-sharing market has hit 'saturation point'

      The fleet size of bicycle-sharing operators in Singapore has become an issue because the market has hit "saturation point", an expert said.

      Transport economist Walter Theseira of the Singapore University of Social Sciences told The New Paper that since the operators cannot generate more users to grow the market, they are now competing for a bigger slice of the pie among the same group of users.

      They are doing so by growing their fleet to make their bikes more accessible, which in turn leads to oversupply and indiscriminate parking.

      And these bikes are often left untouched for long periods because of the lack of demand.

      "Limiting fleet size will go some way to solving this problem. If the Government controls the operators' fleet and makes them meet targets for quality and efficiency, that would help," Dr Theseira said.

      The number of shared bicycles here came under scrutiny after the Parking Places (Amendment) Bill was tabled in Parliament earlier this month.

      Under the Bill, the operators will come under the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) licensing regime, whereby each operator's fleet size will be reviewed every six months, based on such factors as fleet efficiency and how well it can manage illegal parking.

      Those who fail to meet LTA's standards will face stiff penalties, such as fines of up to $100,000, reduction of fleet size, and suspension and cancellation of licences.

      The Bill is set to be debated in Parliament this week.

      There are an estimated 100,000 dockless shared bicycles currently, with about half in active use.

      Operator ofo claims to have 70,000 bikes, having doubled its fleet size over the last four months.


      Unlike Dr Theseira, Mr Christopher Hilton, ofo's head of policy and communications in South-east Asia, was bullish about growth opportunities.

      He said: "Every minute of every day, hundreds of ofo rides are being started in Singapore...

      "To meet this growing demand, we need to work with the authorities to improve the shared-bike infrastructure and specifically to create thousands of new parking spaces."

      But Dr Theseira said that adding parking spaces might not be the answer.

      "It does not remove the fundamental incentive that operators have to simply add more bikes to their fleet to gain more market share," he added.

      Of the other main operators here, oBike said at the start of this year that its fleet was 14,000 while Mobike would only say its fleet is "in the thousands". They told TNP that they were committed to working with LTA on the problem of illegal parking.

      Mobike Singapore's country manager Sharon Meng said: "We remain in close and sustained dialogue with the regulatory body and are reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure we are fully prepared to operate under new regulations."

      oBike Singapore general manager Tim Phang said it will be implementing its geofencing feature to reward or penalise users based on their riding behaviour.

      It is also "continuously looking" at how to use data collected from user riding patterns to improve its service, such as relocating bikes from areas of lower demand to higher ones.



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