- POSTED: 09 Oct 2013 15:24
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Transport experts at a plenary session on Singapore's Land Transport Master Plan 2013 on Wednesday discussed ways to incentivise commuters to rely less on private transport. Some of the suggestions include having a tram service and encouraging greater use of car-sharing schemes.
SINGAPORE: Transport experts at a plenary session on Singapore's Land Transport Master Plan 2013 on Wednesday discussed ways to incentivise commuters to rely less on private transport.
The experts gave their take on the recently launched masterplan which maps out improvements to Singapore's transport system for the next 10 to 15 years.
They agreed that it will not be easy to reduce the desire to own a car in Singapore but it is possible for public transportation to be made an attractive alternative.
One suggestion to reduce reliance on cars is to introduce trams in the city.
Tony Dufays, director for regional offices and services at UITP (International Association of Public Transport) Singapore, said: "What we have seen in all these cities which have reintroduced tramways around the world in the last decade is that the very rich users, the car users, would enjoy using that, and that implementing a tramway has helped to revive the city centres."
Responding to media queries, LTA said it is open to considering alternative modes like trams, if feasible.
"Our Rapid Transit System (RTS) and buses will continue to form the backbone of our hub-and-spoke model. However, we are always open to considering alternative transport modes like trams for localised solutions, if feasible," said an LTA spokesperson.
Limiting the reliance on cars can also be done through car-sharing services.
The Land Transport Master Plan aims to make car-sharing services more accessible for commuters in the future.
But to ensure the success of such services, some industry players suggested eliminating COEs from the scheme.
And to reward drivers who are hardly on the road, experts proposed that the insurance they pay be based on the distance covered.
Assistant Professor Paul Barter, from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said: "If you have a car and you don't drive it very (often), you pay the same insurance as someone who drives... 100km a day, day in and day out. That's not fair. What's more fair is the person who hardly drives should pay less insurance. So, distance-based insurance."
On managing car parking more efficiently, one suggestion raised was to price it as you would an ERP system.
For example, increase the price of parking when it gets crowded and when it's empty, have it free.
Analysts said this could reduce traffic congestion, as well as encourage car pooling.
But the expert panel maintained that the measures can only work if the reliability of public transport is ensured.
Gopinath Menon, Adjunct Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University, said: "Today we are in a catch-up phase, because we are really a bit behind. So by the next five years, we will probably have more lines, better buses, easier to get the last mile, first mile. If you can show that it is better than today, then there will be an improvement."
The experts also discussed using public transport information apps to make door-to-door journeys more convenient.