LTA puts the brakes on Park & Ride scheme

Agency to discontinue scheme in Dec; cites poor demand, abuse of system

Underused and misused, the Park & Ride scheme will end on Dec 1 after 26 years, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced yesterday.

The authority had said last week that the scheme, which allows motorists to park their cars outside the Central Business District (CBD) at discounted rates and take a bus or train to their offices, was being reviewed.

The scheme was introduced in 1990 to reduce traffic congestion in the CBD. Though there are about 4,700 parking spaces at 42 Park & Ride carparks islandwide, only 40 per cent are used regularly. Of the motorists who use these, only half take public transport after parking.

"This suggests the possibility of some motorists using the Park & Ride scheme as a cheaper form of parking, which defeats the purpose of the scheme," an LTA spokesman said.

Online sales of Park & Ride sets, which include a season parking ticket and an EZ-Link card, will end on Nov 4. Sales at Transitlink ticket offices will end three days later.

Those holding Park & Ride EZ-Link cards who do not intend to continue participating in the scheme can claim a refund from Transitlink ticket offices at MRT stations and bus interchanges.

Motorists can continue to use the carparks at normal rates.

Some experts believe the scheme is outdated, as it was conceived at a time when the public transport network was not as well-developed as it is today.

SIM University economist Walter Theseira said: "Even if people are using the scheme as intended, the right way to motivate a car-lite society isn't to give things away to car users."

Users, however, feel that Park & Ride is still relevant and can be tweaked to prevent its abuse.

Human resources manager Douglas Chua, 60, who has used the scheme for two years, said it can be made more "economically viable" by getting rid of the EZ-Link card and restricting it to weekdays.

Mr Tok Choon Boon has used the Park & Ride scheme for a year. He drives his three-year-old daughter to her nursery in Bishan before parking nearby and taking the train to work at a bank in the CBD.

The 39-year-old said: "Getting rid of the scheme will have the most impact on people with young children. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'LTA puts the brakes on Park & Ride scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe