Bike-sharing schemes hit a snag
Bikes improperly parked, damaged. Netizens complain of misuse in bike-sharing schemes as companies try to combat problem
Some are left in the middle of pathways. Others are kept in private property. Many were spotted without their seats.
Dockless bike-sharing was introduced here earlier this year, but many netizens have complained of people misusing the service, with pictures showing rental bicycles even left flat on a grassy verge.
Local venture oBike and China-based Mobike and ofo, the three bike-sharing companies in operation here, encourage their users to park the rental bicycles in designated public bike parking areas.
ofo's bright yellow bikes appear to suffer the most from indiscriminate parking.
Unlike its competitors, ofo bikes are free and are not equipped with global positioning system (GPS) trackers.
Also, there is no deposit required to rent an ofo bicycle.
To combat misuse, ofo launched a scheme this month where users are rewarded with vouchers of up to $20 for reporting indiscriminately parked bikes and moving them to designated public parking stations.
Mobike and oBike have in-app features that allow their users to report improperly parked or damaged bikes.
All three companies have maintenance teams to recover damaged bikes.
A representative from ofo told The New Paper: "Overall, these are rare cases. They get attention because bike sharing is still a new thing in Singapore.
Singaporeans are gracious, but they need to understand how their indiscriminate parking will affect other users.Mr Elgin Ee, general manager of oBike
"We believe that what Singapore is experiencing right now with bike sharing is growing pains, and we are working actively to solve the problems."
Mobike said misuse of its bikes is rare, adding that its GPS tracking system enables it to take action when a bike is parked indiscriminately.
Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, told TNP: "Bike-sharing services have a track record of doing well overseas, and it is disappointing to see the service in such a state in Singapore."
But Mr Elgin Ee, general manager of oBike, said: "I think the bad cases get publicised a lot and the good cases go unnoticed.
"Singaporeans are gracious, but they need to understand how their indiscriminate parking will affect other users."
oBike officially launched its service yesterday, and it announced that it will be introducing location indicators on its in-app map to encourage users to park in designated locations.
It also kicked off a one-year pilot programme with Tampines Town Council, in which events will be organised to educate cyclists on proper bike usage.
Singapore Management University transport economist Terence Fan said: "This seems to be a teething problem for the new bike-sharing services. Until recently, we had none, and now we have three. The community needs to learn how to properly use these bikes."