Monday, December 24, 2018

Make shared bike sustainable

I wish to give my views about shared bikes.

I support shared bikes because it is an important part of an integrated public transport system.

Some commuters need a shared bike to take them from their home to the nearest bus stop or MRT station or for the return journey to their home.

The integrated fare structure for public transport adopted in Singapore made it non-viable for the shared bike operations.

Several operators have ceased operation. I expect the remaining operators to close down soon or later.

We need to find a viable business model for the shared bike operators.

One approach is for a public agency, e.g. a subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority, to set up a shared bike operation as a public service.

It will charge a fee that is sufficient to attract users, but not sufficient to cover the operating cost. It has to be subsidised out, as part of a public transport initiative.

The setting up of this public operator will provide the death blow to the existing operators. This will be unacceptable.

Another approach is for the public operator to buy over the existing operations, but negotiation of the price will be difficult.

A better approach is for the govt to subsidise the private operators. This subsidy can take this form:

a) Waiver of all license fee.

b) A subsidy of x cents for each ride, to reduce the cost to the user.

All registered users should be required to pay a deposit and to top up a wallet to use the shared bike. The deposit and wallet should be held by the public operator, and not the private operators.

The wallet will be used to pay the ride, and any penalty for not observing the rules.

The use of a common wallet means that the user can use the shared bike of any private operator.

All the private operators will use a common app provided by the public operator. The public operator can negotiate to buy over an existing app for an appropriate price.

The private operator will become the sub-contractor of the public operator to provide a fleet of shared bikes, to take care of the maintenance of the bikes, and to manage the operations. They will get a fee for each ride, based on a rate that is set by the public operator.

The fee may be higher than the rate that is charged to the users (who are the commuters). The difference will be the subsidy to be provided by the govt.

We have the opportunity to create a sustainable shared bike operation as part of an integrated public transport system. This can be a showcase to other cities. I hope that the govt will take it up.

Tan Kin Lian

No comments:

Blog Archive