Alternatives to bike-sharing schemes

I commend the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for making a quick decision to shelve a government-run bicycle-sharing scheme (LTA shelves govt-run bicycle-sharing plans; March 25).

However, I hope the reason for doing so is not that there are three private firms already looking to offer thousands of bikes over the next two years.

But rather, the LTA has realised that bicycle-sharing, whether docked or otherwise, will become a headache for the authorities and a nuisance to the public (Bike-sharing: Users share perks, gripes; March 26).

More pragmatically, we should look into making it feasible for people to use bicycles or personal mobility devices (PMD) to go to work or school on a regular basis, rather than on an ad hoc basis, as bicycle-sharing schemes would seem to promote.

Companies should, as part of their corporate social responsibility or as part of employee benefits, buy bicycles or PMDs for their staff to use in their daily commute.

We can start encouraging upper primary pupils and secondary school students, especially those in Housing Board towns, to use bikes or PMDs to get to school rather than depending on school buses or public transport. The Government and commercial enterprises could be roped in to sponsor or subsidise the cost of these for the students.

Over time, we will have a generation of Singaporeans who are more comfortable with a car-lite system, and whose second nature is to hop onto a bicycle or PMD when they want to get around. LRTs and feeder bus services may even become unnecessary.

Chia Chian Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline 'Alternatives to bike-sharing schemes'. Print Edition | Subscribe