SINGAPORE: SG Bike could soon be the largest bike-sharing operator in Singapore, if an arrangement with Chinese company Mobike is approved. 

The two companies announced on Tuesday (Aug 13) an agreement for Mobike to transfer its bike-sharing licence to SG Bike. 

The deal is expected to be completed by Sep 13, they added in a joint media release. 

In addition, the application to transfer Mobike’s licence, bicycles and users needs to be approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

“The agreement secures the future of Mobike’s bicycle fleet in Singapore and ensures that residents will benefit from a combined world-class bike sharing scheme in the city,” the two operators said. 

“If the licence transfer is approved, SG Bike will be able to enlarge its customer base and service areas to offer even more first and last mile journeys to commuters.”

Mobike had made an application in March seeking consent from LTA to surrender its bicycle-sharing licence in Singapore.

It was the third Chinese bike-sharing company to face problems in the Singapore market, after Ofo’s suspension in February 2019 and oBike’s exit in 2018.

READ: Wheel woes: The rise and fall of Singapore’s bike-sharing industry

As of June, SG Bike had a 3,000-strong fleet.

If the application is approved by LTA, users of SG Bike and Mobike will have a “seamless” transition period, said the operators. 

SG Bike users will be able to use its app to unlock both SG Bike and Mobike bicycles. Existing Mobike users with account balances and ride passes will also be able to transfer them to SG Bike by downloading the SG Bike app.

“Our goal has always been to provide Singapore with a highly-efficient bike-sharing scheme, and we remain committed to connect even more people and their destinations in a safe, affordable and convenient way following LTA’s approval,” said Albert Teng, managing director of SG Bike.

READ: ‘The struggle is temporary’: SG Bike founders predict bright future ahead for bike-sharing

The head of Mobike International PR Steve Milton called the agreement “the ideal solution for Mobike in Singapore”.

“Combining Mobike and SG Bike is the ideal solution for Mobike in Singapore as it maintains the continuity that has been established since Mobike launched in Singapore in 2017.

“We have trust and confidence that SG Bike will be able to grow the bike sharing culture and industry and we look forward to its contribution towards the nation’s progress for a car-lite society,” he said.

Mobike's shared bikes are lined up in Shenzhen

Mobike’s shared bikes are lined up in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer/Files)

For now, Mobike users can continue to request a refund of their deposits from the operator.

Following the completion of the deal, Mobike user deposits will be converted into SG Bike account credits without expiry. Users will also have the option to opt out and collect their refund from SG Bike.