Trial for all-day MRT, bus access for foldable bikes
A SIX-MONTH trial to allow foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) all-day access on buses and trains will be launched soon, in what observers say is a significant step in encouraging people to commute by bicycle.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced the upcoming pilot, which is likely to start later this year, at the Walk Cycle Ride SG Symposium held at the Mediacorp Campus yesterday.
Currently, foldable bicycles are allowed on public transport only during off-peak hours, thus limiting their use to mainly recreational purposes.
Observers say lifting the restrictions on access would now make them viable for commuting to work as well.
Non-folding bikes are not allowed at all but foldable bikes can be taken on buses and trains from 9.30am to 4pm and after 8pm on weekdays.
All-day access is granted on weekends and public holidays.
Hairstylist Kenneth Tham, 42, who cycles to work, said it would allow users to ride to the train station from home or work.
"I think given the choice, people will do this," he added.
Cycling advocate Han Jok Kwang agreed, saying: "A 'foldie' doesn't take up a lot of space. It's no bigger than luggage you take to the airport."
Though there are no figures, cycling enthusiasts say foldable bikes, such as Bromptons, are becoming increasingly popular because of their portability.
Many members of the 14,000-strong group, LoveCycling SG, own them.
Yesterday, Mr Khaw also addressed concerns of commuters worried about sharing space with foldable bicycles and PMDs during the rush hour, when he urged cyclists to refrain from entering buses and trains that are crowded.
"For this trial to be a success, public transport commuters and those who bring their bicycles and PMDs onto the buses and trains need to give and take, and be considerate of one another," he said.
Simon Lane, SBS Transit's executive vice-president for rail, said at a panel discussion yesterday that if bicycle users were reasonable, there would be "plenty of space".
MP Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) counselled cyclists to be patient.
"If it's crowded, don't push yourself in, wait for the next train," he said.
Yesterday, Mr Khaw also revealed that the Jurong Lake District bicycle-sharing scheme - to be launched next year - will have about 1,000 bikes distributed across 100 docking stations.
The stations will be within walking distance from each other and be available for use 24 hours a day, he said.
The Land Transport Authority will call a tender for the system's operator next week.
Explaining why the traditional car-centric city model was not sustainable here, he noted: "Cars require carparks, require roads, and both occupy large tracts of land.
"They are inefficiently used, for unlike public transport, private cars are typically used only for a very short period each day, and are left in the parking lots the rest of the time."
About 12 per cent of Singapore's land is used for roads, compared to 14 per cent for housing.