Bike sharing firm ofo raises prices

This article is more than 12 months old

Bike-sharing firm ofo has raised its prices, less than two weeks after it was granted a licence to operate its services here.

With the increased costs of operating under the new licensing regime - where firms are charged a fee for each bike they operate - observers expect more firms to follow suit in raising fees.

Besides ofo, Mobike, SG Bike, Anywheel, Qiqi Zhixiang and GrabCycle were the other five companies also awarded licenses.

Since Tuesday, ofo users have had to pay 50 cents to unlock its bikes, and an additional 50 cents for every 15 minutes of use or part thereof.

This is up from just 50 cents per half hour of use previously.

The price of ofo passes - which allow users to rent ofo bikes for a flat fee over a period of between one and three months - has also increased.

A 30-day ofo pass will cost $8.99 (up from $6.99), a 60-day pass will cost $16.99 ($15) and a 90-day pass will cost $26.99 ($25).

Some users were unhappy about the new prices.

Senior software engineer Wee Yik Shan said finding a well-maintained ofo bike was difficult now, and higher prices would only further discourage him from using the service.

"ofo will lose a lot of customers, including me," said the 39-year-old.

Others like commercial artist Rizal Ismail, 36, felt the raised prices were reasonable, given the higher operating costs after the introduction of the Land Transport Authority's licensing scheme.

Last month ofo - which had applied to have a fleet of 80,000 bicycles - was granted a licence for 25,000 under the new law, which caps the number of bikes each company is allowed to operate.

At a cost of $60 per bike - comprising a $30 licencing fee and a $30 security deposit - this would translate into $1.5 million in additional costs.

In contrast, competitor SG Bike was allowed 3,000 bikes, which would see it pay just $180,000 in fees.

ofo general manager Isabelle Neo said the firm was "adjusting" its prices and noted: "This is to ensure we maintain the quality of our bikes, as well as the level of service we've been able to provide our users."

She declined to comment on whether the increased prices would affect business.