Those who cycle or run to work could soon find themselves having access to more showers, lockers and drying stations to help them freshen up for the work day.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that it will extend its Travel Smart Grant to incentivise office building developers and owners to offer such facilities to people who use alternative modes of transport for their daily work commute. Previously, only companies could qualify for the grant.
Under the grant, the LTA can fund up to 80 per cent of the cost of such facilities, subject to a maximum of $80,000 per development.
Announcing the change at the LTA's Travel Smart Day 2017 event yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min said: "Employers who promote flexible working and travelling arrangements for their employees can also count on the Government's support. Together, we can make more efficient use of our public transport resources."
Launched in 2012, the Travel Smart Grant aims to help organisations defray the cost of implementing or testing initiatives that encourage their workers to travel at off-peak timings or use alternative transport methods to get to work.
It is part of the LTA's Travel Smart initiative, which seeks to reduce demand for peak-hour travel and encourage flexible travel arrangements.
The initiative includes two other aspects: a Travel Smart Rewards scheme, which earns commuters cash rewards for travelling outside of the morning peak period; and Travel Smart Consultancy Vouchers, which provide up to $30,000 for companies to engage approved consultants to help them analyse employee travel patterns and come up with plans to manage workers' travel needs.
80% Under the Travel Smart Grant, the LTA can fund up to this proportion of the cost of facilities such as showers and lockers, subject to a cap of $80,000 per development.
The latest move will benefit commuters like Mr Colin Quek, 40, an avid skateboarder and cyclist who works in IT. He cycles to work occasionally from his Sengkang home, but would do so more often if his office in Changi Business Park had more shower and bicycle storage facilities.
For him, cycling to work means not having to deal with jams and train breakdowns. Even better, he can stay healthy by getting some exercise on the way to work.
"I believe that if even 10 per cent of the people on my usual bus route can be convinced to cycle to work, the buses will be more than adequately spacious for the rest," he said.
The LTA said it has also seen more than 15,000 commuters shift from peak to off-peak travel daily. This is equivalent to 10 train loads of passengers.
More companies are also getting in on the act. The Travel Smart initiative had 12 participating companies in its first year in 2012, but the number has grown to more than 200 today.
CapitaLand, which has built more than 500 bicycle parking spaces in its office building and shopping malls, hopes to add more to support Singapore's move to go car-lite.
Its spokesman said its new integrated development at Raffles Place, on the site of the former Golden Shoe Carpark, will feature a cycling path, 165 bicycle parking spaces and end-of-trip facilities to encourage tenants to cycle to work.
Since the launch of the Travel Smart initiative, almost $16.6 million in grants, rewards and vouchers have been committed or given out.