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Wanted: Sponsors for Singapore's first bike-sharing scheme

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The hunt is on for corporate partners for Singapore's first bicycle sharing system, a fully self-service scheme that the government intends to pilot in three districts by the end of this year.


THE hunt is on for corporate partners for Singapore's first bicycle sharing system, a fully self-service scheme that the government intends to pilot in three districts by the end of this year.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), the statutory board that's driving this initiative, has appointed Lagardere Sports and The X Collective (XCO) as the official sponsorship and marketing consultants.

Lagardere Sports is a global sports marketing agency, while XCO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMRT Commercial. Their job is to lead the procurement of sponsorship and marketing opportunities to support the bicycle sharing scheme for the next eight years.

The scheme will be introduced at the Jurong Lake District from end-2017, and potentially at the Marina Bay city centre, and the Tampines and Pasir Ris towns. Together, the three locations will involve over 2,300 bicycles and have about 230 docking stations.

bike share hubs

The LTA is busy turning Singapore into a cycling-friendly city. The plan is to ensure all HDB towns will have a cycling network by 2030, which means a total of 700km of cycling paths across the island.

Lagardere Sports and XCO have already started work to look for a title sponsor that will get exclusive naming rights to the bicycle sharing scheme and have its corporate colours on the bicycles, among other entitlements.

The arrangement would be similar to other bicycle-sharing systems in other cities such as Citibike in New York and Santander Cycle in London. The plan is to announce the winning bid by the third quarter of this year.

There are two additional tiers - founding partners and official sponsors - for companies that wish to come on board. Like the naming rights deal, these packages are flexible and can be tailored to each individual brand.

Adrian Staiti, the executive vice-president of global partnerships at Lagardere Sports, told reporters on Tuesday that several interested parties have already come forward.

They come from a wide range of sectors including financial services, banking and insurance, telecommunications, credit cards and real estate.

When asked how challenging it would be to search for companies with deep pockets in the current gloomy economic climate, he remained confident that there is a healthy appetite for corporate sponsorship in Singapore.

"Brands still have to market themselves. They still have to advertise and get their messages out, they will also continue with their CSR (corporate social responsibility programmes)," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"It's not as if things shut down for the brands even when the economy isn't necessarily at its highest level. Maybe we have to be more creative or put more elements into the package that will really meet their needs. We will make everything bespoke and listen what they want to accomplish from this sponsorship," he added.

Once the bicycle sharing system is rolled out, commuters will get access to the bicycles around the clock. After they set up an account, they can retrieve a bicycle from any docking station and return it at another. Payments are made electronically.

A person could, for instance, hop on a bike that's located near their home and pedal to the nearest MRT station or bus interchange, and continue his journey on public transport. This, said the LTA, will improve first and last-mile connectivity between transport hubs and key amenities in Singapore.

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