By Howard Lee
Employers who wish to adopt flexi-travel initiatives for their workforce to travel during off-peak hours can tap on incentives as part of the Travel Smart Network launched by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) today.
The three initiates, to be rolled out from tomorrow to November 2014, aims to encourage employees “to travel on public transport during off-peak periods, and to take up sustainable modes of travel such as cycling and walking, thereby reducing the demand for peak hour travel”, indicates a media release issued by LTA.
Companies that are on the Travel Smart Network can benefit from three initiatives:
1) Corporate-Tier Travel Smart Rewards (with effect from 1 August, tomorrow) – an extension of an earlier scheme company employees can enrol and enjoy an attractive sign-up points bonus, which now includes a new monthly top lucky draw prize of $1,500, for one winner every month.
2) Travel Smart Consultancy Voucher (with effect from 1 November) – up to $30,000 to engage approved consultants to conduct employee travel pattern analysis and develop travel demand management action plans tailored to the needs of the company and its employees. This is to help companies gain an insight into their employees’ travel patterns and understand the motivating factors, as well as determine potential Travel Smart measures.
3) Travel Smart Grant (with effect from 1 November) – up to $160,000 annually for three years to co-fund the cost of initiatives which companies put in place to support the adoption of flexi-travel arrangements by their employees.
LTA also said that an earlier pilot initiative to encourage more travellers to take public transport during non-peak periods have yielded “encouraging results”.
LTA Group Director for Policy and Planning, Mr Jeremy Yap said: “The three key ideas that bring about the change in travel pattern are the facilitation of tele-commuting, the availability of flexi-work options, as well as supporting activities like the provision of morning programmes such as exercise, team-bonding or breakfast sessions before work. With these encouraging results from the trial, we know that there is scope for more companies to participate in Travel Smart so more can benefit from flexi-travel and work arrangements.”
LTA did not indicate how many companies were expected to take up the new schemes, but has indicated that 12 companies took part in the earlier pilot project, and both employers and employees have “benefited from the experience”.
The Ministry of Manpower did not indicate if there might be broader regulations or incentives to encourage companies to adopt flexi-work arrangements to support these flexi-travel initiatives.
The government has earlier extended an earlier free pre-peak travel scheme for a year, claiming that it was a success, although the scheme saw only 7% of commuters shifted their travel patterns as a result of the drive.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo has also indicated earlier that, “In the second year of the free pre-peak trial, we are going to focus more on working with employers to make flexible work arrangements more widely available to their staff, so that their staff can have a choice of a lifestyle change.”
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