Is Bike Sharing Geo-fencing more inconvenient? 6 Things You Should Know

Bike sharing is a relatively new concept globally, and only came to Singapore slightly over a year ago.

However, in that short span of time, bike sharing has been in the news far too often for the wrong reasons.

Source: Straits Times
Source: Straits Times
Source: Straits Times

As with all new technologies, regulation eventually catches up: LTA has announced that it will be rolling out a new regulatory framework for bike sharing.

The changes were announced as part of the Parking Places (Amendment) Bill in Parliament on Monday (5 Mar).

Let’s look a bit into how they will affect Singaporeans:

1. What is Geo-fencing?

As part of the new regulations, LTA will be imposing a QR code-based geo-fencing solution.

How this works: LTA will be designating parking spaces in which users have to park their bikes in after they finish riding.

There will be a QR code at the parking location, where users have to scan the code right before they are allowed to park and lock their bike.

But can’t asshole riders simply manually lift up the bike out of the location after they are parked and locked?

Well, they can, but they almost definitely will be caught.

‘Geo-fencing’ technology utilises either GPS or radio frequency identification to define geographical boundaries, that is triggered whenever an object enters or exits the boundary.

Geo Fencing
Geo-Fencing Technology as shown on a virtual map.

The shared bikes’ GPS will be used in conjunction with LTA’s geo-fencing tech to implement this – so they can track where all their bikes are at any time and penalize offenders accordingly (see below).

Furthermore, since LTA is restricting the number of parking spaces for bikes, they could easily install CCTVs to monitor each of these parking spaces in the future.

2. How many designated parking spots are there and where are they?

Currently, LTA will have at least 174,000 parking lots when it rolls out the new regulations.

They will be in public places such as next to bus stops or MRT stations, as well as perhaps under HDB flats and work buildings.

LTA has indicated that it has plans to add 50,000 more designated parking lots by 2020.

3. When will it be implemented?

The new regulations will be implemented in the second half of 2018.

4. What happens if I don’t follow the regulations?

‘Bike-dumpers’ will be banned by the bike-sharing firm of the bike that was used.

The bike-sharing operators actually must ban users who park indiscriminately again and again, according to LTA’s rules.

However, something worse than simply getting banned – users who do not park their bikes properly could be “continuously charged”.

This is a bit ambiguous, but probably means that the runtime of the bike meter will not stop until you park the bike properly, which means that errant parking could rack up the user pretty steep costs.

Which, the bike operator will in turn have to pay LTA as a fine for indiscriminate parking:

Bike-sharing operators that do not comply to the standards will face penalties of up to S$100,000, reductions in fleet size, suspension or even the cancellation of their licenses.

5. Does this make Bike Sharing more inconvenient?

Sure it does. No one wants to have to ride a shared bike to a designated parking lot and walk the rest of the way to your destination.

However, it beats having bikes strewn along the roadside to Sungei Gedong camp or even underwater in reservoirs.

Furthermore, it could also be slightly more convenient as parking spaces are almost guaranteed to have ‘spare’ bikes at any point of time, and have better serviceability as well.

6. Is it possible to bypass the geo-fencing solution?

Perhaps. People can be very ingenious in the wrong ways.

However, at the end of the day, the onus is really on both Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans living here to use bikes responsibly.

What do you think? Is there anything else you need to have clarified on this issue? Let us know down in the comments!

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