The Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) announced Monday (22 Apr) that it has cancelled the licence of Chinese bike-sharing firm, ofo, in Singapore.
According to the Straits Times (ST), the authority said, “As ofo has not provided LTA with sufficient justifications on why its licence should not be cancelled, LTA cancelled ofo’s bicycle-sharing operating licence on 22 April.”
“Ofo will not be able to offer dockless bicycle-sharing services in public places in Singapore without this licence.”
Given Extensions After Extensions
In February, the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) showed no love to Chinese bike-sharing firm in Singapore, ofo, on Valentine’s Day as it suspends its licence.
At that time, ofo was given up till 13 March to remove all its bicycles from public spaces and failure to do so would result in LTA cancelling ofo’s licence.
Then on 3 April, it was reported that the deadline had been extended to 28 March, and ofo was served a notice of intention to cancel its licence by LTA.
ofo was given 14 days to “make a written representations to the authority” for failing to miss the deadline to remove its bicycles.
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) said that the extension was provided to ofo because they notified LTA that they were in last stages of talks with a potential partner to meet the conditions of its licence and resume operations.
Still, ofo did not meet the regulatory requirements to reinstate their licence.
Bike In Troubled Waters
In December 2018, CEO and founder of ofo, Dai Wei, revealed that the company had “immense” cash flow problems.
This is despite the substantial monetary backing from Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, as ofo had raised US$866 million early last year.
According to CNA, ofo had valuations worth more than US$2 billion in 2018.
Yet, the bike-sharing firm had defaulted on “thousands of dollars” of employees’ claims as well as on vendors’ payments which are reported to be over $700,000.
This was discovered after they had vacated their Singapore office abruptly and the company terminated operations staff suddenly.
Just last month, ofo landed in hot water again as angry users took to social media to berate the firm for making unauthorised charges to their ofo accounts.
As fellow Chinese bike-sharing operator Mobike, exits Singapore, we can’t help but wonder what will the future of bike-sharing here be like.
Perhaps, when the dust has settled and bike-sharing regulations have been refined, Singapore can then properly enjoy the benefits of this mode of urban mobility.
This will require existing bike-sharing firms in Singapore, namely SG Bike, Anywheel, and Moov, who were all awarded licenses to operate, to work closely with LTA as well as the local community here.
Featured Image Credit: Connected to India