Bicycle-sharing pilot could expand to city, Pasir Ris, Tampines

An artist's impression of the proposed bicycle-sharing infrastructure in Marina Bay-City Centre. The LTA said that whether the bicycle-sharing scheme will expand beyond the Jurong Lake District depends on the quality of the proposals it is asking for
An artist's impression of the proposed bicycle-sharing infrastructure in Marina Bay-City Centre. The LTA said that whether the bicycle-sharing scheme will expand beyond the Jurong Lake District depends on the quality of the proposals it is asking for in the tender, the potential economies of scale, as well as the level of sponsorship interest.PHOTO: LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

LTA asking for proposals to run scheme in these areas, beyond Jurong Lake District

The island's first large-scale bicycle-sharing pilot could be expanded beyond the Jurong Lake District to include Marina Bay-City Centre as well as Tampines and Pasir Ris.

With such an expansion, the government-led scheme will feature a total of 2,300 bicycles and 230 docking stations over these areas.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), which will call a tender today, said it is asking for three proposals.

One of these will be to run the pilot only in Jurong Lake District, another will be to also operate the scheme in Marina Bay-City Centre. The third will be to implement bicycle-sharing in both districts, along with Tampines and Pasir Ris.

Yesterday, LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said: "This is the first public bicycle-sharing scheme that will be implemented on such a large scale... We believe this will catalyse the take-up of cycling as it provides a convenient and healthy way to commute between homes, nearby amenities and the MRT stations."

Cyclists can expect bicycle-sharing to be first available in the Jurong Lake District - which has been earmarked as the island's second Central Business District - at the end of next year. The launch date will coincide with the completion of cycling paths in the district.

The trial in Jurong Lake District, which will take place over eight years, will feature 1,000 bicycles and 100 docking stations. The service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Users will probably be able to pick up a bicycle at any self-service docking station and return it at any station within the system's service area. The docking stations will be spaced about 400m apart.

Users are likely able to pay using options such as travel cards, and credit and debit cards.

The revenue will go to the operator, which will bear the costs of building infrastructure such as docking stations, and operating and maintaining the bicycles and service.

To help defray costs, however, operators will get to bid for a fixed amount of government grant they need in each year of the contract, in their tender proposals.

The operators have to meet service standards, including ensuring bicycles are available to users at docking stations, and enough spaces to park them at these stops .

In deciding whether to expand the scheme beyond Jurong Lake District, an LTA spokesman said this will depend on the quality of the proposals, the potential economies of scale, and the level of sponsorship interest.

For the Marina Bay-City Centre scheme, 600 bicycles and 60 docking stations have been proposed, while for Tampines-Pasir Ris, 700 bicycles and 70 stations.

A separate tender will also be called today to appoint a consultant to help engage sponsors, which will have naming and advertising rights to the bicycle-sharing system.

Car-sharing Association of Singapore president Lai Meng, who was involved in a now-defunct bicycle-sharing scheme in Bukit Batok, has high hopes for the pilot in Jurong Lake District.

"In Bukit Batok, people had to cycle on the roads and it was dangerous. However, with the cycling paths in place in Jurong, people will be attracted to use the bicycles and there will be a critical mass of users," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2016, with the headline 'Bicycle-sharing pilot could expand to city, Pasir Ris, Tampines'. Print Edition | Subscribe