Bike sharing in Singapore can be a cheap and convenient mode of transport. By Alevin Chan
Photo: Wang Tom / www.123rf.com
Which of the 3 bike-sharing services help Singaporeans save the most money on transport?
With no less than 3 bike-sharing operators, Singaporeans now have even more affordable, convenient and eco-friendly options to carry out their daily errands. However, is it worth the effort to actually get on a bike and pedal to your destination in Singapore’s sweltering heat? After all, you could just as easily climb on a feeder bus – and enjoy some air con while you’re at it. What advantages, financial or otherwise, can Singaporeans reap by switching to bike-sharing services? (Also Read: 5 Emergencies You Must Save Up For)
ofo – Best Option for Long Rides
Of the 3 bike-sharing services in the market, ofo offers the cheapest fares – provided you need a long ride. Starting at S$1 per hour, and with a maximum fare of S$2 per ride, ofo offers the most wallet-friendly option for day-long excursions. Because you end your trip by tapping a button on the app, you have the freedom to time your rides. This is handy when you need to complete a whole list of errands requiring multiple stops.
Also, ofo charges the lowest deposit of S$39, making it the cheapest bike-sharing service to start using. However, if you frequently make short trips, ofo may not be the best choice for you. At a minimum of S$1 per ride, your 15-min runs to the gelato shop can quickly add up.
oBike – Best Option for Short Jaunts
What gives oBike the edge over its competitors is the ease with which you can find its bikes. oBikes are encouraged to be parked at any public bike parking places, which means you’ll likely find them outside neighbourhood malls, outside MRT stations, and even at your void deck.
However, at a base rate of S$0.50 per 15 mins, oBike’s fare are also the highest. (However, you’ll get a S$3 rebate when you pay the deposit.) As such, oBikes are best suited for trips lasting 15 mins or less. One thing to note though is oBike’s credit system. Bad behaviour (parking illegally, violating traffic rules, etc.) will cause your credit level to go down, which will cause you to be subject to higher fares in return. Your credit rating can be raised by completing rides without incident, reporting broken or illegally parked bikes, and other generally helpful behaviour.
Mobike – Flexible Option, But Watch Your Credit Rating
China-based Mobike is the third option for Singaporean bike-sharing users and offers a comparable price and service type. At S$0.50 per 30 mins, Mobike is priced in-between ofo and oBike. However, like oBike, it also has a credit system, and this is where it gets tricky. You’ll notice that Mobike is not shy on the penalties it doles out on errant users – you could be paying S$100 per 30 mins if your account was found guilty of severe abuse.
Even if you don’t have a sociopathic tendency to abuse bicycles, you may still find yourself paying much more than you’d like for a ride. Note that for any credit rating lower than 100, your fares spike to S$20 per 30 mins. As a new user starting with 100 credits, you’re put on a short lease, so you might want to pay attention to the rules.
Bike-sharing is a Green Way to Save Money
With prices even cheaper than a feeder bus, bike-sharing services are indeed a viable way to save money. Yes, you’ll be shaving dollars off the household budget, but there are larger benefits beyond the financial ones. (Also Read: 5 Money Myths to Stop Believing Now!)
Regularly riding a bicycle also means you’re adding minutes of physical activity to your day, which is beneficial for improving health and fitness. And as you cycle to and fro, you might get to discover the in’s and out’s of your neighbourhood, gaining a much deeper appreciation for your surroundings. And perhaps most importantly, bike-sharing lets you go green and save the Earth, one errand at a time.
A version of this article originally appeared on www.singsaver.com.sg, a personal finance comparison site with useful tips and guides to empower everyone in Singapore to make sound financial decisions.