On Tuesday (4 Feb), Transport Minister, Khaw Boon Wan, informed Parliament that the popularity of shared bicycles and e-scooter in Singapore had dramatically altered the demand for paid underground bicycle parking. This ultimately led to the end of the SecureMyBike trial period.
Mr Khaw said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) decided to end the trial on 28 December 2019 as the fees collected could not cover the operating cost.
The development of underground bicycle parking system had cost the Government S$4.7 million over four years.
The facility, SecureMyBike, began operations early last year, at Kampung Admiralty, an integrated residential complex located next to Admiralty MRT station.
For a start, the parking fee was waived until 31 January 2018. From February 2018, users had to pay a monthly fee of $22 for unlimited use, or 25 cents per hour. After 30 April 2018, users were subsequently charged $48 a month or 45 cents per hour.
Mr Khaw explained that shortage of bicycle parking lots had been an issue previously. The cluttered parked bicycles in the parking area posed safety concerns.
Over time, due to poor take up rate, SecureMyBike has wound up operations and the parking has been left unattended. The minister intimated that the 198sqm underground parking space that’s not been used now could still be re-purposed.
Netizens openly criticized the poor planning of the underground project on CNA’’s social platform.
They questioned if LTA or the government had initially carried out a feasibility study to determine the factors that would make the business a success. Some complained that motorcycle parking was much cheaper.
Others also questioned the high cost users had to pay just to park the bicycles. They noted that a lower charge would have made it attractive because most people opt to use a bicycle as they don’t want to pay for parking.
Facebook user, Rohan Vinekar argues that since bicycle users travel cost free, why would they voluntarily pay for parking. To him, parking for bikes should be free.
Additionally, online users also express anger with the wastage of tax payers’ money which was used to fund the project. They urge the government to make bicycle parking free for all users.
Netizen, Lee Nguang Chua shares an alternative. He writes that if you allow bicycle parking under every void deck with e-locks readily available, and make everything observable by theft monitoring cameras, it would have been successful. And for all that he suggests that just 10 cents a day fee would be fine.