Khaw Boon Wan: Emergence of shared bicycles and e-scooters ended SG’s first automated underground bicycle parking system

The rapid growth in popularity of shared bicycles and e-scooters in Singapore altered the economics of paid underground bicycle parking, which led SecureMyBikeSingapore’s first automated underground bicycle parking systemto discontinue operation.

There are 100,000 registered e-scooters in the country, as reported by The Straits Times on 4 November 2019. 

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told parliament on 4 February, that the emergence of shared bicycles and e-scooters had dramatically shifted the usage and parking patterns of privately-owned bicycles.

“As the fees collected could not cover the operating cost, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) decided to end the trial on 28 December 2019,” Mr Khaw said.

Despite LTA’s effort to promote the systemsuch as installing wayfinding signs and bicycle parking maps for users, offering free trials and subsidized pricing rates for a certain periodSecureMyBike has ceased operations in less than two years due to a low take-up rate by cyclists.

The development of the underground bicycle parking system had cost the Government S$4.7 million over four years.

SecureMyBike was opened on 5 January 2018 at Kampung Admiralty integrated residential complex located next to Admiralty MRT station.

The parking fee was free until 31 January 2018. Starting on 1 February 2018, users had to pay either a monthly fee of $22 for unlimited use, or 25 cents per hour. Users were then charged $48 for the monthly fee or 45 cents per hour after 30 April 2018.

Mr Khaw also explained that the shortage of bicycle parking lots used to be an issue, with indiscriminately parked bicycles cluttering the parking area and posing safety concerns.

On 26 October 2019, a spokesperson from LTA who responded to queries from The Straits Times said that SecureMyBike caters to the growing cycling population at Admiralty and is able to store around 500 bicycles.

However, Mr Khaw said that the discontinued 198sqm underground space can still be repurposed.

“The underground space of 198sqm of bicycle parking remains and can be repurposed. We are keeping the options open, as the current situation is still changing,” he said.

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