SINGAPORE: Owners of foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) like e-scooters and hoverboards may bring these items on board buses and trains from Dec 1 this year, as part of a six-month trial, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Thursday (Nov 24).
The devices, however, have to be within the size criteria of 120cm x 70cm x 40cm. Measuring charts will be set up in in train stations and bus interchanges islandwide. These are similar to sizing charts used in airports to measure the sizes of carry-on bags.
Currently, foldable bicycles are only allowed on buses and trains during off peak hours, and only smaller ones of up to 114cm x 64cm x 36cm are permitted.
Rules and guidelines include:
• Foldable bicycles/PMDs must be folded at all times in the MRT/LRT stations, bus interchanges/terminals and on trains and buses.
• Motorised PMDs must be switched off when brought on board trains and buses.
• Wheels of foldable bicycles/PMDs are to be wrapped up if they are dirty or wet.
• Protruding parts likely to cause injury or damage property are to be covered up or retracted (e.g. handle bars and bicycle pedals).
• Only one foldable bicycle/PMD is allowed on a bus at any one time.
• Foldable bicycles/PMDs are not allowed on the upper deck of a bus or on the staircase leading to the upper deck.
• Commuters should not ride their foldable bicycles or PMDs within the MRT/LRT stations and bus interchanges/terminals.
• Commuters should be responsible for the safe carriage of their foldable bicycles/PMDs and should hold or carry their foldable bicycles/PMDs.
• Foldable bicycles/PMDs should not block the aisles and doors or impede commuters’ movement at any time.
• When travelling by train, commuters with foldable bicycles/PMDs should use the first or last car, which is usually less crowded.
• Commuters with foldable bicycles/PMDs should use the wide fare gates at MRT/LRT stations where they are available
“They (the PMDs) should fit the stipulated dimensions so they are not too large and they wouldn't cause too much inconvenience to the other commuters,” said Tan Shin Gee, director of LTA’s Active Mobility Unit and Policy. “We've also put in place other rules to ensure the safety of commuters - such as these cyclists or PMD users, they would have to fold their devices and they will have to either carry them or wheel them along once they enter the public transport system."
With the trial, LTA said it hopes to encourage more people to take public transport, and for commuters to incorporate cycling, or PMDs in their daily commute. This comes as personal mobility devices are seen as possible solutions to the “first mile-last mile” problem facing Singapore and other dense urban cities.
Commuters Channel NewsAsia spoke to had mixed feelings about sharing train or bus space with the devices.
"I don't think it's advisable actually,” said Lynn Kang, a 60-year-old freelancer. “It will take up a lot of space. As you can see, the trains are very crowded, so with these bulky items, I don't think it's convenient."
Another commuter, student Vihanga Karunathilake, said: "As long as they keep in mind to not disturb other people and they stay in the space - it's alright.”
Ultimately LTA said the trial’s success depends on “the co-operation of everyone." For example, commuters with foldable bicycles or PMDs are advised to board the next train or bus if the first one is too crowded.
The pilot was first announced by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Jul 20 at the Walk Cycle Ride SG Symposium. The transport authority added will use the feedback gathered during the trial to further refine the rules surrounding personal mobility devices.