SINGAPORE: The popularity of shared bicycles and e-scooters in Singapore altered demand for paid underground bicycle parking, leading to the end of the SecureMyBike trial in Kampong Admiralty in December last year, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday (Feb 4).
"Both shared bicycles and e-scooters have dramatically shifted the usage and parking patterns of privately owned bicycles. This fundamentally altered the economics of paid underground bicycle parking," he said.
"As the fees collected could not cover the operating cost, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) decided to end the trial on 28 December 2019," he told parliament.
Mr Khaw was replying to a parliamentary question from Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Walter Theseira. Dr Theseira wanted to know what studies were done to support the development of the project and how the Government plans to ensure that future walk, cycle and ride infrastructure improvements are cost effective.
The paid underground bicycle parking space was launched in January 2018 and was Singapore's first fully automated underground bicycle parking system.
READ: Fully automated underground bicycle parking launched in Singapore
Mr Khaw said there was a need to build more bicycle parking lots in Kampung Admiralty which was completed in 2017 to make the area "user-friendly" for residents cycling to Admiralty MRT station and also to meet demand for bicycle parking lots, said Mr Khaw.
"The shortage was serious back then, with indiscriminately parked bicycles cluttering the parking area and posing safety concerns," he said.
An appointed committee decided on underground parking to "free up valuable surface space" for other uses. Mr Khaw said his visit of similar facilities in Japan also left him with the impression that the Japanese were "very satisfied" with their paid underground bicycle parking facilities.
When the Kampung Admiralty project was completed in 2017, 198 sq m was set aside for underground bicycle parking, less than two per cent of the total underground parking lot, said Mr Khaw.
"Overall, Kampung Admiralty has been a highly successful project, although the outcome for underground parking for bicycles has turned out to be disappointing," he said.
"The underground space of 198 sq m of bicycle parking remains and can be repurposed. We are keeping the options open, as the current situation is still changing."
Dr Theseira in a supplementary question suggested that "it will be very useful if the ministry could put in place guidelines for market research studies, even a logic model that has to take place before these projects per se.
And after the project commences, we can check back against these original projections and see where did we go wrong, where did we go right".
In reply, Mr Khaw said this is done "all the time".
"That’s why there’s always a post-project review, a post-mortem, so that we learn from it," he said adding that this particular episode is an ongoing saga.
"As the number of PMDs comes down, the usage of shared bikes and privately owned bicycles may well rise again. I would not be surprised that similar underground bicycle parking systems may be needed in Singapore, perhaps even at Kampung Admiralty, in the future."