SINGAPORE: Residents in the Woodlands precinct now have another option when parking their bicycles - one that will keep them from being stolen or getting wet when it rains.
A S$4.7 million underground bicycle parking system, called SecureMyBike, was launched on Friday (Jan 5) at Kampung Admiralty, an integrated residential complex next to Admiralty MRT station.
It is Singapore's first fully automated underground bicycle parking system.
The move is part of the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) efforts to encourage more people to take up cycling for commuting.
Cyclists have to set up an account at the registration kiosks, which is located behind the parking facility. A pin number will be sent to their mobile phones after registration, which they can use to deposit and retrieve their bicycles.
After entering their pin number at the parking kiosk, a door will open for cyclists to push their bicycles into a cell and bicycles will move down an underground cylindrical shaft.
There are three separate cylindrical shafts, which can store about 500 bicycles combined.
Each shaft, which has seven levels, extends 10m underground.
Among the residents who tried out the system on Friday include 55-year old Anna Lian.
Ms Lian, who lives in the neighbourhood, said she normally cycles to do her grocery shopping.
She is pleased at the security the system provides. “We won’t lose our bicycles,” said the supermarket packer.
Muhd Khairul Ihsan, who cycles to Admiralty MRT Station in order to take a train to school, also said that he feels more secure with this new system.
“I don't feel comfortable parking my bike outside because many people can steal it,” the ITE student said, adding that he had a bicycle stolen in 2012.
In addition to parking their bicycles, cyclists can also store other cycling gear such as helmets in the cells.
For security reasons, though, three sensors have been installed to ensure proper use of the system. These include a weight sensor to ensure each storage unit is not loaded beyond its limit of 35kg, a motion sensor to detect moving objects, and a sensor that recognises metal parts of bicycles.
As part of the trial, the service will be free for users up until Jan 31.
From Feb 1 to Apr 30, they will be charged either S$22 per month for unlimited usage or S$0.25 per hour.
After Apr 30, monthly rates will increase to S$48, while hourly rates will be S$0.45.
Mdm Lian said that the price is reasonable. “If I just need to use for a few hours and then I return, it's okay,” she said.
But it was a different story for Khairul. “It's too expensive for one month. If S$48 for a year, easier so that I can pay,” the 16-year-old said.
LTA did not specify when the trial would end, except that it will review the take-up rate before deciding whether it will build more of such facilities in other parts of Singapore.
The price might also be adjusted, depending on the response of the public.
The trial was initially scheduled to be rolled out in early 2017, but was delayed for further testing by the supplier Biceberg and also due to delays in the Kampung Admiralty project.