Bike Sharing: Is It Better For Your Wallet?
Environmental consciousness has finally hit the roads in Singapore. While cycling has become the ‘it’ thing to do in recent years, it hasn’t really taken off as a popular means of transportation due to many factors.
One of the many reasons could be the inconvenience and hassle of switching between modes of transportation and even a foldable bicycle can still feel like a hefty thing to carry around.
This may soon change as bike-sharing seems to have caught on in Singapore, with at least three companies sharing the pie.
Why cycle and why bike-sharing?
Get fit and get somewhere at the same time
Cycling is probably the only sensible means of exercise that also serves the purpose of getting you from point A to B. Jogging to work is, of course, a possibility as well, but that makes more sense if you don’t live far away from your workplace, plus there’s the practicality of carrying all your stuff with you.
For busy bees, cycling to work or when running errands helps you to kill two birds with one stone.
It’s better for the environment
You burn calories instead of fossil fuels when you cycle. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, not to forget that there are also other particulates that contribute to air pollution.
When you cycle and take public transport instead of driving wherever you go, you get to bid for the environment.
Beat the congestion
Peak hour traffic can be an insane waste of time, and squeezing into buses and the MRT is one of the most unpleasant things you can voluntarily do. Why subject yourself to unnecessary suffering when you can feel the wind in your face and get to your destination with a peace of mind?
Bike-sharing for the ultimate convenience
A few great deterrents of cycling for transport is the hassle of taking your bike with you when you switch between different modes of transportation. No matter how foldable and compact your bicycle is, you’re still bound to attract death stares when you get into a crowded MRT.
With bike sharing being made more available around the country, you no longer have to worry about going back to your parking area to retrieve your bicycle or taking it into public transport, as you can now drop off the bike with more convenience and go on your way.
The cost of bike-sharing
Bike-sharing companies are popping up and each has its own pricing structure. OBike, for example, charges S$0.50 for every 15 minutes, while Ofo charges S$1 per hour with a cap of S$2 for singular trips last for more than 2 hours. The cheapest service seems to be Mobike, which charges only S$0.50 for every 30 minutes.
If you are paying adult fare for public transportation, getting a bike share to head to the nearest MRT Station will most likely cost you S$0.50, which is cheaper than the lowest SBS bus fare of S$0.77 for a short distance ride.
A 45-minute bike-ride to work with Ofo or Mobike from, say, Ang Mo Kio to Raffles City will cost you only S$1, which is cheaper than the S$1.41 fare with the MRT ride that will take about 25 minutes.
Driving a Toyota Camry for the same distance during peak-hour traffic will probably consume about 0.9 litres of petrol, which will cost you about S$1.90 in petrol cost, and let’s not forget about the ridiculous cost of parking in the city. You may even be quicker on a bicycle than trying to make it through the heavy CBD traffic.
Why bike-sharing might not be your thing
With all the pros of convenience and the increasing availability of bikes and parking spaces, there are still reasons why riding your own bicycle may be a better idea.
For one, in the long run, riding your own bicycle is still the cheapest option. Let’s assume you use the bike-sharing service twice a day, five days a week, and on average spend $1 per trip. That equates to $520 a year, and is more than enough for you to buy a relatively good bicycle and even accessories to top it up. If your main purpose of cycling is to cut down your spending to an absolute minimal, then you should still ride your own bicycle and bike-share only when you really need to.
Also, payment for all three is via credit or debit cards through the app. If you haven’t got yourself a credit card, check out our list of best credit card in Singapore to ease your payment. The bike-sharing app that you use may impose strict penalties if you break certain rules.
For example, Mobike has a credit system that affects the fares you pay. If your Credit Points are 80 or lower, the fare will be increased to $100 per 30 minutes, which effectively means you shouldn’t be riding anymore. Points are deducted for offences like parking in a compound, or forgetting to lock. They aren’t unreasonable penalties, but if you’re careless, then you could really be penalised.
Otherwise, get off your couch and out of the car and give bike-sharing a go!