Sunday, 16 October 2016

Park & Ride scheme to end 1 Dec 2016

LTA puts the brakes on Park & Ride scheme
Agency to discontinue scheme in Dec; cites poor demand, abuse of system
By Zhaki Abdullah, The Straits Times, 15 Oct 2016

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Some experts believe the scheme is outdated, as it was conceived at a time when the public transport network was not as well-developed as it is today.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

* Park & Ride less relevant with more travel options into CBD

We thank readers for their views on the cessation of the Park & Ride scheme ("Park & Ride suffers from lack of public awareness" by Mr Chai Ming Yao; Oct 18, "Track Park & Ride users to prevent misuse" by Mr Tok Choon Boon; Oct 13, "Tweak Park & Ride scheme to discourage misuse" by Mr Douglas Chua Hock Lye; Oct 11, "Park & Ride succeeds in taking cars off the road" by Mr Yah Jun Yang; Forum Online, Oct 18, and "Stated reasons not strong enough to scrap Park & Ride scheme" by Mr Lim Yew Kwang; Forum Online, Oct 17).

The scheme was implemented in 1975 to reduce congestion in the Central Business District (CBD).

Subsidised parking was provided at selected carparks on the fringes of the CBD to encourage motorists to switch to public transport before entering the CBD.

Our public transport network has since expanded significantly, and commuters are now able to travel into the CBD conveniently using public transport for the entire journey.

We have invested heavily in new rail lines that connect commuters directly to the CBD. We have also expanded the bus network significantly, including running City Direct bus services.

Furthermore, more than half of Park & Ride users do not switch to public transport after parking their cars at Park & Ride carparks. This suggests that the scheme is being taken advantage of by some motorists as subsidised destination parking.

The take-up rate of the scheme has also been low. Hence, the Land Transport Authority has decided to terminate it from Dec 1.

With improved public transport options, we encourage motorists to switch to public transport for their entire journey.

Ong Hui Guan
Deputy Group Director
Policy and Planning
Land Transport Authority
ST Forum, 28 Oct 2016


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