Last month, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that it will be scrapping its plans for a national bicycle-sharing initiative after the emergence of private bike-sharing companies in Singapore.
But on Saturday (April 29), Jurong-Clementi Town Council signed a partnership with the three bike-sharing companies in Singapore - China-based Mobike and ofo; as well as homegrown oBike - to launch a one-year pilot bicycle sharing programme.
Bicycle parking zones intended mainly for rental bicycles will be added to 30 sites in Jurong, on top of 120 new bicycle racks, to ease the problem of bicycle-sharing firms' vehicles being parked willy-nilly in public areas.
These zones, marked with yellow rectangle boxes, can be found in areas such as HDB void decks or near the Chinese Garden MRT station.
The town council said it will add more bicycle racks, but these will be paid for by the companies themselves.
Jurong MP Ang Wei Nang is hopeful that these added parking spaces will help to deter acts of vandalism, following the recent spate of media reports about damage to shared bicycles, such as repainting the bicycle frames or throwing them into drains.
Clamping Down On Irresponsible Parking
As part of the agreement, the companies also have to ensure that bicycle users park them in the right place, and not obstruct common areas in the neighbourhood.
All three companies claim that they have implemented incentive and demerit schemes to encourage right riding and parking behaviour, but there have been cases of irresponsible parking, with bicycles blocking letterboxes, corridors, or fire exit routes.
As such, companies have been instructed to remove these illegally parked bicycles. When notified, they will have to remove the bicycle within four hours, if alerted between 8.30am and 7pm.
Otherwise, the bicycle must be removed by 7am the next day.
"If we receive any reports, we are going to find the previous user, and this is possible because we have a GPS system," said mobike's Singapore Manager Sharon Meng.
"We know who the previous user is, and we are going to deduct points from the previous user."
Additionally, the companies also have to provide third-party insurance covering accidents or bicycle damages; and provide users' cycling pattern information to the authorities to improve the planning of future cycling paths.
Possible Replacement Of National Bicycle Scheme
According to Mr Ang, this scheme may be extended to all seven divisions in Jurong GRC, Yuhua, and Bukit Batok SMC, if successful.
This success will be dependent on the responsible behaviour of users, which can be achieved through education, he pointed out.
"We want to embrace the bicycle-sharing scheme rather than rejecting it. We want our residents to enjoy the convenience of rental bicycles right at the void deck without the disamenities," he said.