Hire bike, e-scooter for 'last mile' stretch soon at one-north

JTC is looking for a sharing system with 50 devices and seven docking sites spread across one-north, where some 46,000 people work.
JTC is looking for a sharing system with 50 devices and seven docking sites spread across one-north, where some 46,000 people work.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

JTC calls for tender to improve connectivity in Buona Vista's business and research hub

Business and research hub one-north in Buona Vista will soon have a system that will let people hire bicycles or e-scooters for travel on that "last mile" stretch that is not well served by public transport.

Industrial developer JTC Corporation called a tender for the system on Wednesday, a day after Parliament passed a law allowing personal mobility devices (PMDs) and bicycles on public paths.

In the tender documents obtained by The Straits Times, JTC cited Infinite Studios, a media production building that is about 1km from one-north MRT station. This was a "significant distance to cover on foot daily", it said, as it noted the need "to improve last-mile connectivity" for the estate.

Currently, shuttle buses ferry workers to different places in the estate and the two MRT stations: one-north and Buona Vista.

The planned sharing system will give workers in the estate another travel alternative, said Mr Aaron Tham, director of JTC's New Estate division.

IMPROVE INFRASTRUCTURE

During peak hours, the footpath is too narrow and crowded, and, on the road, riders need to mix with traffic... It's not very safe if you are an inexperienced cyclist.

MR FRANCIS CHU, on why the bike-sharing scheme he started in the area in 2012 failed to take off.

The estate is occupied by businesses and research facilities, and has about 46,000 workers.

The sharing system JTC wants is for 50 bicycles or e-scooters, and seven docking sites for renting these machines. They are spread across its 200ha estate.

The two MRT stations will each have two docking sites near them. The remaining three will be at the Nucleos building in Biopolis, the Mediacorp building and Infinite Studios. The e-scooters or bikes would be available for rent round the clock, seven days a week. Users can pick up and leave them at any of the docking sites.

Tender documents also proposed a fee structure in which the first 15 minutes will be free. Subsequent 15-minute blocks will cost 50 cents and after the first four hours, every 15 minutes will cost $1.

This is the second tender for a bike-share system that the Government has called for.

The first, by the Land Transport Authority, was for a bike-share system in Marina Bay, Tampines, Pasir Ris and the Jurong Lake District. The tender, which closed in December, has yet to be awarded.

Mr David Louey, 34, who runs the MovetoLive gym in Biopolis, said the sharing system is a brilliant idea, but it may take a bit of time for one-north workers to be comfortable hopping on a bike or e-scooter.

"I'll definitely try it out," he added. Now, he takes eight minutes to walk to his gym from Buona Vista MRT station.

This is not the first time a bike-sharing system is being tried out at one-north. In 2012, avid cyclist Francis Chu started such a scheme, with two docking sites. It closed soon after, owing to poor response. Mr Chu attributed it to a lack of infrastructure for cyclists to ride safely in the estate.

"I do not see a lot of significant improvements now. During peak hours, the footpath is too narrow and crowded, and on the road, riders need to mix with traffic, and it's not very safe if you are an inexperienced cyclist," he said.

He suggested narrowing road lanes, with separate paths built for cyclists and PMD users.

Mr Tham said JTC is gearing up for the system. It will widen the footpaths and build a 7.7km network of paths for the PMDs. "Sheltered linkways will also be built as part of the mobility network for added convenience," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Hire bike, e-scooter for 'last mile' stretch soon at one-north'. Print Edition | Subscribe