It might have taken us awhile but we’ve finally caught up to the concept of bicycle sharing in Singapore since I first came across the bike sharing system in Taiwan seven years ago. It might not have worked back then, but now with changing consumer attitudes and three different companies dedicated to the same eco-friendly goal, even the weather might not prevent you from giving this two-wheeled transport system a go. Why should it, when you pay close to nothing to arrive at your destination while doing your part for the environment and you get to burn off all those calories at the same time?
In general, all three bike apps Ofo, Mobike and Obike are non-docking in nature. They all require an initial deposit that ensures a damage-and-abuse-free bike sharing system. In the case that you might need to revisit past trips, the apps all contain history pages for ease of reference. Here’s the lowdown on this pedalling phenomena:
Straightforward and easy to use, this no frills app from China was the first of its kind to breach our shores. Focused on urban living, most of their bikes can found around the central regions of Singapore. While they have lesser inventory than the other two apps, which can make it harder for users to locate the bikes, the app is definitely the most aesthetically pleasing. Not to mention, it’s the most affordable of the lot. With a (refundable) deposit of $39, each bike rents for $1 per hour with a maximum charge of $2 for the whole ride. After paying, simply key in the number of the bike you wish to unlock and you’ll be given a passcode to unlock the bike thereafter.
That said, ofo constantly adjusts its pricing so keep an eye on their app to stay up to date. For a limited time however, the app is offering a $2 coupon for every completed trip.
What sets Mobike apart from the other two apps is its credit system. Upon registration, each rider will receive 100 Mobike credits and a maximum of 10,000 points. Riders can gain credit after each ride and earn points by being civic-minded, such as reporting broken bikes. On the other hand, deductions take place when riders park in the wrong spots, use private locks, or do something else inconsiderate. This is where it gets tricky: the moment your credit drops to 80 or lower, the fare increases drastically to $100 per 30 minutes. Unless you’ve got some cash to spare, handle these bicycles with care.
Other than that, these bikes are easy to locate, with a handful scattered below HDB blocks and around popular tourist spots. Their eye-catching orange and grey colour scheme makes it hard to miss. The deposit is set at $49 and the bikes go for $0.50 for 30 minutes though promotions pop up periodically on the app. The timer starts once the bike gets unlocked, so be ready.
The only local bicycle sharing startup on the list, the initial deposit remains at a heftier $49 like Mobike. If you’re a student, Obike is definitely the app for you, since all you have to do is key in your school details and voila! The deposit drops to 19 bucks. Even if you’re not, promotions are available on the app. In addition, Obike’s app shows you the estimated distance of the nearest bike and the estimated time it takes to walk there. Talk about convenience! And you don’t even have to pay for the first 15 minutes are given for free.
Top image courtesy of Mobike.