Unless you’ve been holed up in your room playing eSports for the past 2 years straight, you must have tried bike sharing in Singapore at least once. (At the very least, you would’ve heard of Obike’s ugly demise.)
These are the 3 major bike sharing companies that are still alive:
- Ofo (yellow bikes)
- Mobike (orange bikes)
- SG Bike (red & white)
The dockless concept is simple and beautiful in theory: you use an app to scan a QR code on the bicycle, which unlocks the Bluetooth lock, ride to your destination, then push the lock back in place to end your trip.
In reality, it’s not that great. Messy bicycles everywhere, poorly maintained bike fleets, and – most importantly – annoying pricing changes are all deterrents to Singaporeans seriously considering bike sharing as a legit form of everyday transport.
In this article, we’ll compare the pricing and then deep-dive into the pros and cons of each bike sharing app, so you can decide which one is more worth your time and money.
Ofo vs Mobike vs SG Bike – which bike sharing app is cheapest?
Here’s a brief look at the listed rates of Ofo Singapore, Mobike and SG Bike:
|Bike sharing company||Ofo||Mobike||SG Bike|
|Pay as you go||$0.50 to unlock + $0.50/15 min||$0.50/20 min||$1/first 30 min, subsequently $0.03/min|
|30-day pass||$8.99 / $5.50 on Shopee||$7.99 / $5.99 on Qoo10||$5|
|90-day pass||$26.99 ($8.99/month)||$19.99 ($6.66/month)||$10 ($3.33/month)|
|180-day pass||N/A||$36.66 ($6.11/month)||$30 ($5/month)|
|Max. ride length for unlimited pass||120 min||120 min||30 min, subsequently charged at $0.03/min|
|Promotions||$10 coupons with LiveUp / free 30-day pass with SoCash||N/A||N/A|
- Cheapest pay-as-you-go: Mobike ($0.50/20 min)
- Cheapest monthly pass: SGBike ($5) or Ofo ($5.50 on Shopee)
- Best promotions: Ofo (via SoCash/LiveUp)
- No credit/debit card needed: SG Bike
By the way, no one dares to charge a deposit anymore, which I guess is the one good thing that came out of Obike running off with users’ $49 deposits.
Ofo (小黄车 or “little yellow bike”) is a Chinese company that’s one of the global market leaders in dockless bike sharing.
After the death of Obike, Ofo seems to operate the biggest fleet in Singapore. At any rate, the signature yellow bikes are the easiest to find. They’re reasonably well-maintained, but look out for detached/missing seats in older bikes.
If you’re paying per use, Ofo is the best app to use as it costs $0.50 per 30 minutes and is capped at $5. Update: As of 11 Oct, Ofo has changed the per-use rate. It now costs $0.50 just to unlock a bike, plus an additional $0.50 per 15 minutes. For frequent users, Ofo’s pass is $6.99 for 30 days which is slightly cheaper than Mobike. Ofo’s pass pricing has gone up (again). It costs $8.99 a month now. On the pass, you get unlimited bike rides of up to 120 minutes each.
Alternatively, grab these Ofo promotions while they last:
- Free 30-day pass with SoCash: For new Ofo users who withdraw SoCash 2x in 7 days (expires 12 Oct)
- $10 coupons with LiveUp: Sign up for the 60-day free trial and get $10 in Ofo coupons every month
- $5.50 pass on Shopee: Purchasable as a promo code, but can only redeem it 1 time every 3 months
Beijing-based bike sharing company Mobike used to be HUGE in Singapore, but seems to have downsized its fleet.
These days, Mobikes are harder to find than Ofo bikes. Even if you find one, don’t get too excited because you might get a dud with detached chain or broken seatpost. At least, that’s what happens to me on a regular basis.
If you’re paying per use, Mobike costs $0.50 per 20 minutes. They recently increased the cost (it used to be $0.50 per 30 min) but removed the deposit.
For the unlimited pass, Mobike used to be the cheapest app at $5 for 180 days. But now, the Mobike pass is now the most expensive of all, costing $7.99 for 30 days on the app. This is good for unlimited rides of up to 120 minutes.
You can sometimes find cheaper Mobike passes on Qoo10 or Shopee flash sale. Grab while stocks last.
- $5.99/month on Qoo10: Only for “limited quantity”
If you’re creeped out by the thought of some Chinese e-commerce conglomerate getting your credit card details, try local startup SG Bike.
It doesn’t require your credit card details – you can just use your EZ-Link card to pay. In fact you don’t need a smartphone to unlock the bikes. After you link your EZ-Link card to your account, just tap the card on the bike. Great for kids and older folks.
The major drawback is the very small fleet size compared to the other players, so you cannot rely on them for commuting. However, the bikes are actually very pleasant to ride. Some even have baby seats on the back.
For pay-as-you-go, SGBikes are the most expensive of the lot at $1 per 30 minutes. If you continue riding after 30 minutes, it costs 3 cents per minute.
If you bike for leisure at places like East Coast Park where SGBikes are more plentiful, you can consider buying a monthly pass at $5 or 3 months for $10 (which is the cheapest). Unfortunately, the monthly pass is only good for rides up to 30 minutes long. Subsequent usage is the usual 3 cents/min.
Conclusion: Now that Obike is dead, what should you do?
First of all, for those of you who tried but failed to get your $49 Obike deposit back, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see it again. Sorry guys. GrabCycle is supposedly the successor to Obike, but I think they haven’t gotten their shit together yet.
If you mainly ride shared bikes for fun, you can try Mobike’s pay-as-you-go rate of $0.50/20 min. Or save some cash by signing up for a free LiveUp trial for free Ofo coupons.
For frequent riders/commuters, the options don’t look great. The $5.50 Ofo pass on Shopee is the best value, but it has limited validity. The $5.99 Mobike pass on Qoo10 isn’t too bad, but trying to get a working Mobike can be pretty frustrating.
Whereas if you pay full price (in-app), a Mobike pass will set you back $7.99/month, which works out to $96 a year! Not very worth it right? You might want to just get a cheap bicycle from Decathlon or Carousell instead.
Have you tried bike-sharing apps? Which do you swear by? Tell us in the comments.
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