The Land Transport Authority has received licensing fees from six firms, which will operate 40,500 shared bicycles
Six firms to operate 40,500 shared bikes as licensing fee kicks in The Land Transport Authority said it received licensing fees from six firms which will together operate 40,500 shared bikes. PHOTO: MALCOLM MCLEOD

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has received licensing fees from six firms, which will operate 40,500 shared bicycles in all - less than half the combined fleet size six months ago.

From Thursday (Nov 1), Mobike will operate 25,000 bicycles, while fellow Chinese firm Ofo will operate 10,000. Singapore's SG Bikes will operate 3,000.

The three have been granted a full licence, and have paid $30 to operate each bike for two years. On top of that, they have paid a security deposit of $30 a bike.

Anywheel, Grab and Qiqi Zhixiang have been granted a "sandbox licence", which limits them to much smaller fleets. Anywheel and Grab will have 1,000 bikes each, and Qiqi will have 500. All three pay a licensing fee of $12 a bike, without the need for any security bond.

None of the operators wanted to reveal their fleet sizes, but it is estimated that there were more than 100,000 shared bikes in Singapore before the licensing regime was announced early this year.

The Straits Times understands that the bigger players have since been paring down their fleets.

Both Mobike and Ofo said on Monday that they will meet their regulated fleet sizes from Nov 1.

In an announcement on Monday, the LTA said Ofo was granted a maximum fleet size of 25,000 bicycles, which was "much lower" than what it had originally applied for.

But the firm subsequently requested to operate a reduced maximum fleet size of 10,000 bicycles instead, and the LTA has agreed to this request, the authority added.

"Under the new licensing regime, all licensees are required to reduce their fleet size to meet their assigned maximum fleet sizes by Nov 1," the LTA said, adding that it will "regularly review the fleet sizes, taking into account factors such as the operators' performance and user demand".

The next round of applications for operators to apply for new licences or an increase in fleet size will open in January 2019.