Saturday, 26 November 2016

Folding bikes, e-scooters allowed all-day on public transport in six-month trial from December 2016

Take your bike or scooter on bus, train all day
Six-month trial to boost public transport use starts next week; foldable bikes, PMDs must meet size standards
By Zhaki Abdullah, The Straits Times, 25 Nov 2016

From next month, commuters will be able to take foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) such as e-scooters on buses and trains all day as part of a six-month trial.

Said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday: "This is another step taken by LTA to encourage more people to use public transport, and to adopt active mobility for the first and last mile of their daily public transport commutes."

The trial, which was first announced by Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan in July, will begin next Thursday. The trial is expected to end in May next year.

Commuters can take on board public transport foldable bicycles and PMDs that have a length of up to 120cm, a height of 70cm and a width of 40cm at any time of the day.

Most bikes and PMDs on the market meet these standards.

Until now, only bicycles with a length of 114cm, a height of 64cm and a width of 36cm when folded are allowed on board trains and buses, and only during off-peak hours.

Signs displaying the dimensions will be progressively introduced at all MRT and LRT stations, as well as bus hubs and interchanges so commuters can check their devices before taking them on board trains and buses.

Bikes and PMDs must be folded at all times, and switched off. They are not allowed on the staircases or upper decks of double-decker buses.

Those who board at train stations and interchanges will be asked to fold them, and carry or roll the devices. Those who refuse to comply face a fine of $500.

LTA active mobility and policy director Tan Shin Gee said in order to be successful, the trial requires the cooperation of all commuters.

"Cyclists and PMD users have to be considerate. If the train or bus is crowded, you may want to wait for the next one," said Ms Tan.

Mr Denis Koh, chairman of e-scooter enthusiast community Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, said the trial was "a positive step forward" for PMD users here and a move towards achieving Singapore's car-lite vision.

"This is the next milestone for enhancing first- and last-mile travel here," said Mr Koh, noting, though, that it might take time for other commuters to accept the presence of the devices.

One of them, Ms Valerie Toh, said trains were already "squeezed" during peak hours, even without bicycles and PMDs.

"With the frequent train breakdowns, it will just make peak-hour commute more frustrating for commuters if they have to compete for space with e-scooters as well," said the 29-year-old office manager.

However, media analyst Munawar Mohamed felt that the move would not be disruptive to most commuters. Said the 34-year-old: "Some baby strollers are bigger and people don't mind."


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