Retain scheme at popular sites near CBD

It was with great disappointment that I read about the reasons for the discontinuation of the Park & Ride scheme ("LTA puts the brakes on Park & Ride scheme"; last Saturday).

The low take-up rate and alleged misuse of the scheme have been cited as key reasons for its discontinuation.

A closer examination would reveal that quite a number of slots are sold out within minutes of tickets being made available for sale on the 15th of every month.

One such carpark is the Pine Close KM3 site, due to its proximity to the Central Business District (CBD) and the Marina Bay Financial Centre.

However, the take-up rate of the scheme is not uniform islandwide. There are many less popular sites in neighbourhood areas which are not near populous industrial zones or financial hubs, for example, the one at Block 259, Compassvale Road.

When a driver living in Sengkang and working in the CBD joins the Park & Ride scheme, he would want to utilise as much of his car as possible to travel to the nearest Park & Ride site outside the CBD, before making the last leg of his journey on public transport, instead of driving five minutes to the Park & Ride site in Compassvale and taking a 45-minute MRT ride to the CBD.

In this example, the objective of the scheme would still be achieved, as traffic into the CBD is reduced.

The scheme is also a win-win for the Housing Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which would benefit from selling unutilised carpark spaces in the day time.

Instead of abandoning the scheme altogether, the Land Transport Authority should look at enhancing the scheme by allocating more carpark spaces for genuine users at sites such as Pine Close and doing away with those in places such as Compassvale.

Chia Chien Loong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Retain scheme at popular sites near CBD'. Print Edition | Subscribe