Cyclists in Admiralty now have a safe and weatherproof option for parking their two-wheelers, with Singapore's first automated underground bicycle parking system launched there yesterday.
Called SecureMyBike, the system, located within the Kampung Admiralty integrated development next to Admiralty MRT station, can house more than 500 bicycles.
Users can choose from one of three kiosks to deposit and retrieve their bikes. They can place one bicycle, along with cycling gear such as helmets or shoes, into a storage cell.
The storage cells are housed in three separate underground cylindrical shafts, which each extend about 10m underground. Each shaft stores 167 bicycles, spread across seven levels.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the new parking facility will complement existing surface-level bicycle parking to promote cycling, particularly for short-distance commutes within Admiralty.
"The key benefit of the underground parking system is to free up surface space for other uses, but it is costly to set up the system," an LTA spokesman said.
"Through this trial, LTA will assess the user experience and financial viability of the underground bicycle parking system before determining if we should expand the pilot to other areas."
The SecureMyBike system cost about $4.7 million and took about four years to construct.
As it is fully automated, various sensors are installed to ensure its proper use. The system will detect if users exceed the permitted weight limit of 35kg. A motion sensor also prevents living objects from being put into the cells.
As part of a trial, SecureMyBike will be free to users until Jan 31.
From Feb 1 to April 30, users can choose to pay either a monthly fee of $22 for unlimited use, or 25 cents an hour. From May 1, the monthly fee will be $48, or 45 cents an hour.
Cyclists such as 16-year-old Muhd Khairul Ihsan said: "With this system, I will feel more secure... My bike was stolen in 2012, when I parked at an open bicycle lot."
But the Institute of Technical Education student said $48 a month was expensive, adding that he would use the parking facilities if that was the price for a whole year.
Madam Anna Lian, 55, a supermarket packer, finds the per-hour pricing reasonable, given that she can have a secure place to store her bicycle for a few hours.
Asked about the charges, LTA said: "The fees are priced to cover the cost of operating and maintaining the system. However, we will consider the demand and take-up of the parking system when making price adjustments in the future.