Singapore-based bike-sharing startup oBike said it is implementing a geofencing feature for its shared bicycles, the company said in a news release.
The move is to address concerns about unused bicycles obstructing rights-of-way and cluttering public spaces.
Going live last Friday (Oct. 27), oBike’s geofencing feature uses GPS or RFID to create a virtual geographic boundary. It enables users to leave bikes in designated bike-parking zones which are marked by blue polygonal shapes and the letter “P” on the in-app map.
OBike said its geofencing feature covers over 1,100 parking zones, typically located next to bus stops and train stations, and in public spaces such as shopping centres, parks, and housing estates.
Many of these are outlined on the ground with a painted yellow line, but some are demarcated virtually and can only be viewed through the app.
As Singapore’s first homegrown bike-sharing operator, oBike said geofencing was stipulated in a memorandum of understanding it recently signed with the Land Transport Authority, along with other operators such as Mobike and Ofo.
All five bike-sharing services in Singapore are to implement geofencing technology in their bikes to ensure the shared bikes are parked properly.
According to oBike, users who do not park their bicycles within the designated bicycle parking zones or within the geofenced areas will receive a notification in the app that parking is strictly not allowed in that area.
The startup has also introduced a points system to penalize irresponsible parking behavior. Once the six-month trial period ends, 10 points will be deducted from users who do not park within the geofenced areas each time. Recalcitrant users will not be allowed to use oBike’s services when their points are depleted.
On the other hand, those who consistently park in the specified areas will be rewarded with points, which they will be able to accumulate and eventually exchange for things like shopping vouchers and discounted hotel stays.
The full rollout will be completed by the second quarter of next year.
Founded in January 2017, oBike has expanded its operations to over 10 countries including Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Taiwan, Thailand, and the UK.
In oBike’s US$45 million Series B round in August, Uber’s main rival in Southeast Asia, Grab, invested in the startup, TechCrunch reports, citing a source with knowledge of the deal.
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