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Grab is adding bike-sharing to its ride-hailing service

By Madhura Yale 23rd January 2018

Grab, Uber’s chief rival across Southeast Asia appears to be getting into bike-sharing after plans for a joint service with oBike in Singapore.

As reported by Techcrunch, a resident in Singapore has shared photos of Grab Cycle bikes — which show an oBike logo being loaded into a van. Though Grab has not officially released any statement, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise since it is an investor in oBike, as reported back last year, and expected, there can be a strategic element to that relationship. Grab’s tie-in with oBike follows a trend of ride-hailing companies embracing bikes, and it is interesting on a few levels.

Trends to Watch This Year

Today, a lot of companies, that promise to go green, are encouraging people to ride a bike for their nearby work and short city trips. Riding in this way has become highly popular and goes from the big cities to smaller ones.

Fortunately, with the ubiquity of smartphones and advancements in bike technology, the last one or two years have observed a strong rise in the use of bike sharing apps and services across the world.

The number of bike share systems, defined as publicly-available systems with at least 10 stations and 100 bikes, has steadily increased year-over-year, from four systems in 2010 to 55 systems in 2016. In addition, 80% of systems that have been in operation for more than a year have expanded since they launched.

In 2016, US alone saw the launch of two large systems in major cities: BIKETOWN in Portland and Metro Bike Share in Los Angeles, CA. The number of bikes in the nation also increased substantially, up 30%, as existing large systems have continued to grow.

South Asian Market

In the past year, with the proliferation of bicycle sharing, the trend is now in exporting operationally-driven models overseas.Two companies leading the charge in China are Ofo and Mobike.

Ofo stats:

Raised $1.2 Billion, 150 cities, 400M total trips as at 3/17/17, 6.5M bikes, 100M registered users

Mobike stats:

Raised $0.9 Billion, 100 cities, 25M rides a day at peak times, 5M bikes, 100M registered users

Looking Forward

Ofo has entered Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan while juggling new cities in further markets like Seattle; Mobike has also been expanding aggressively in Europe and other Western cities. Both have started moving into the US market, with Ofo also fighting local companies there such as Spin and Limebike.

The expansion and densification of systems across the continents are helping move bike share towards realizing its potential as an integrated, low-cost part of city transportation systems. More people on bike share means that more people are saving time, realizing new opportunities for exercise and health, and finding it easier to access economic opportunities. The care that many cities are taking to deeply engage local communities, hire locally and internationally. The focus is also on expanding their bike share systems, build out protected bike lane networks, and create accessible pricing ensures that bike share provides opportunities for everyone.

(Source: Reuters, China Daily, Mobike, TechCrunch, Crunchbase)

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