Singapore using Geofencing, penalty points and RFID to fix bike sharing parking issues

oBike is Singapore’s first homegrown station-less smart bike-sharing company which uses technology to change how transportation is viewed locally. It allows commuters to travel during one-way first- and last- mile commuting – via bicycles located all over the island. This provides a convenient and environmentally-friendly commute option for all, especially given Singapore’s compact size and interconnected urban areas.

Obike has introduced “geofencing” in a move designed to address local authority concerns about unused bicycles obstructing rights-of-way and cluttering public spaces.

Geofencing enables users to leave bikes in designated parking areas which appear on the in-app map. Users will be notified via the app when they enter these virtual enclosures so that they know they are parking the bike in an appropriate location.

The company said that there are over 1,100 designated parking zones for its bikes in Singapore, typically located next to bus stops and train stations, and in public spaces such as shopping centers, parks, and housing estates. Many of these are outlined on the ground with a painted yellow line, but some are completely virtual and can only be found by viewing on the oBike app.

Not all of these designated zones are geofenced at this stage. OBike plans the full rollout to be complete by the second quarter of next year.

Penalties

OBike introduced a points system to penalize “negative behavior” – like parking bikes illegally or failing to lock them – back in April. Such acts lead to points deductions, while “positive behavior,” such as reporting faults, gains points.

The company said today that users who do not park their bicycles inside geofenced areas or other designated parking zones will receive a notification in the app. Once the current trial period of 6 months is over, users will have 10 points deducted each time they are found to have parked outside a designated zone. Users who hit zero points will no longer be able to use oBike’s service.

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.

One of the more recent entrants into Singapore’s bike-sharing scene, SG Bike – which launched a pilot service in the city’s Holland-Bukit Panjang district in August – also employs a form of geofencing. Riders must park in the vicinity of a “geostation” device, which emits a radio-frequency identification field (RFID) that recognizes if the company’s bikes are parked nearby. These RFID geostations have a typical range of 5 meters.

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