[SINGAPORE] The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has approved SG Bike's application to take over Mobike's licence in Singapore, a move which would make the local firm the largest bike-sharing operator in the city-state.
But the transfer of the licence, which was scheduled to be completed by Friday, will be delayed by a few weeks as the firms tie up loose ends.
In response to queries, the authority said: "LTA has already given its in-principle approval for the transfer of Mobike's licence, with a maximum fleet size of 25,000, to SG Bike."
"We understand that SG Bike and Mobike are currently working out the operational details of the transfer," it added.
SG Bike currently holds a licence to operate only 3,000 bikes in Singapore. But as the firm is unable to hold two licences concurrently, it will not be able to operate an extra 3,000 bikes on top of the 25,000 allowed by Mobike's licence after the transfer is completed.
SG Bike's marketing director Benjamin Oh said existing Mobike users can still use Mobike's app to unlock bikes from the Chinese firm in the meantime.
He added: "SG Bike is working closely with Mobike to complete and test system and user transfer integration. It is expected to be completed in the upcoming weeks."
SG Bike operates mainly in Yishun, Tampines and the East Coast Park area. It had said it would look to concentrating the deployment of its expanded fleet in several towns.
Mobike users will be able to transfer their account balances and ride passes to SG Bike by downloading the latter's app.
Those who still have deposits with Mobike can ask for refunds or have the deposit converted into SG Bike account credits.
According to an announcement filed on the Singapore Exchange last month by SG Bike's majority shareholder ISOTeam, SG Bike agreed to repay Mobike's user deposits and prepayments to the tune of about $2 million.
Mobike, which is owned by Chinese food delivery company Meituan Dianping, submitted a proposal to the LTA in March for a "managed and orderly withdrawal" from the Singapore market.
Its exit, when completed, would leave the bike population in Singapore at about 36,000, down from 39,000.
Another local start-up, Anywheel, has a licence to operate 10,000 bikes.
Meanwhile, Moov Mobility, the newest entrant in the market, has a sandbox licence to operate 1,000 bikes.
It applied to the LTA last month to expand its fleet size by an unspecified amount. The result of its application will be made known by the end of this month.
THE STRAITS TIMES