Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Using bicycles for the last mile

Some people use bicycles for the last mile, from their home to the MRT station. They have to park their bicycles at the station, taking up space and facing the risk of theft, vandalism and rusting (unless it is sheltered).

Some people use foldable bicycles that can be taken up the train. However, this is still not practical, as the bicycles have to be carried.

A good alternative is to have bicycles that can be rented for short trips. It can be returned at any of the storage points. A commuter can rent a bicycle near the home, ride to the station, and leave it there. The bicycle can be rented by the next commuter who wish to ride from the station to his home.

For this system to operate well, the operator must be authorised by the town council. It must be backed by law enforcement to ensure that the bicycles are not stolen or vandalised.

A town council can put in the capital, infrastructure, bicycle lanes and regulations for this service and licence a private operator to manage it. This is similar to the arrangement where the infrastructure of the MRT is provided by the state and is licensed to a private operator.

Some towns in Europe operate a bicycle service that is free for the public. The cost is borne by the taxpayers.

I hope that a bicycle service can be operated in our towns in Singapore.


  1. Good suggestion. My son lost 2 and a half bicycles over a period of about 1 and half years. The half bicycle was due to vandals stripping away one of the wheels. When we reported to the MRT staff they said, you park at your own risk and the police cannot help either. I believe it is very common and I don't understand why there cannot be camera surveillance or some other security be provided. It is things like these that we start suspecting the new PRs / citizens.

  2. To anon 1:00 PM
    Many lost or half-lost their bicycles in front of their flat !!!
    It's uniquely Singapore lah !

  3. it will not work! because how much will you going to charge for the rental? any one willing to pay S$1? and why will i want to rent a bicycle instead of taking bus? If only it is dirt cheap or "FOC" this will surely help. In singapore, all talk about business, MRT will charge operators for the rental of the space and all these will be transfer to the users. At the end of the day what is the "value". Think of it who are the people really use bicyle? they are usually people who are cost sensative rather than enviromentalist.

  4. Mr TKL, town councils rather lose $$ to investments that invest in infrastructure that they cannot see monetary returns.
    Lots of ideals that will unfortunately never work in this land...UNLESS...

  5. some foldable bikes do not need to be carried. they can be trolleyed around like a baby pram. :) in fact, it can double up as a trolley!

  6. UNLESS..there is a CHANGE, a BIG CHANGE... else it's just status quo.

  7. If it does not have a return on investment, forget it. PAP has trained us to think this way.

  8. My girlfriend started cycling a year ago and loved it. But sadly she has had two bicycles stolen from her HDB block in the last 12 months. It is not cheap transport if you have to keep replacing it.


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