S’pore’s first automated underground bicycle parking system to cease operations in Dec, LTA cites low take-up rate

SecureMyBike, Singapore’s first automated underground bicycle parking system, will cease to operate at the end of Dec this year due to a low take-up rate by cyclists, despite initiatives by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to promote the system.

A spokesperson for the LTA told The Straits Times in response to queries that in an effort to “increase awareness and take-up rate”, it had put in place measures such as installing “wayfinding signs and bicycle parking maps to guide users from Admiralty MRT to park their bicycles in the SecureMyBike facility” and offering “free trials and subsidised pricing rates for a period”.

SecureMyBike, which was made accessible to the public in early Jan last year, was free to use until the 31st the same month. Users who took up the service after the free trial, however, either paid a monthly fee of S$22 for unlimited use or 25 cents per hour from 1 Feb to 30 Apr last year.

The monthly fee was then raised to S$48 or 45 cents an hour after 30 Apr last year.

LTA cited SecureMyBike’s operation and maintenance costs – paid for via the above subscription fees – for its secure and weatherproof parking facility, as well as the availability of free bicycle parking in the surrounding area outdoors, as reasons behind the low take-up rate.

The S$4.7mil bicycle parking system, which took four years to build, has a housing capacity of over 500 bicycles. Only three of its lots, however, were utilised between Feb 2018 and Sep this year. Users also bought fewer than five monthly passes on average.

Following the dismal results of the year and a half-long trial run, LTA stated that it will not expand the system to other areas.

Previously in 2016, LTA stated that SecureMyBike will enable cyclists to “store their bicycles and cycling gear securely, and protect their bicycles from theft, vandalism, and the weather”.

“Catering to the growing cycling population at Admiralty, the underground system can store around 500 bicycles, hence saving land that would otherwise be used for at-grade bicycle parking,” the Authority added.

S$4.7mil bicycle parking system situated in Transport Minister’s GRC

SecureMyBike is situated within the Kampung Admiralty integrated development next to Admiralty MRT. Admiralty is a part of Sembawang GRC, which is led by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the completion of the main building structure of Kampung Admiralty in early Sep in 2016, Khaw said that the automated bicycle parking system, which was slated to be introduced the following year, emulates the model practiced in Japan and Spain.

Similar to the automated bike parking system in the two countries, cyclists can push their bicycles into a lift, after which they will be given a code or token for retrieval. Their bicycles will be then be transported underground and sorted out before being stored in a cylindrical shaft.

“Quite unlike existing bicycle parks, it will be underground, therefore protected from the weather and more importantly it will be secured,” Khaw said.

“Of course, it costs us a lot more to build this facility and also to run it. So, we need to charge a fee. I hope cyclists will be understanding,” he added.