SINGAPORE: Cyclists are calling for a review of the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) foldable bicycle scheme, introduced in 2009.

The scheme currently has a peak hour restriction, and allows only one folding bike on each bus at any one time.

42-year-old Max Lam, vice-principal of the School of Science and Technology, travels to work on his folding bike.

He said: “I think it is a very viable alternative, though I own a car. Depending on the weather, it becomes a choice that I’m able to exercise – whether I wish to work out a sweat today and cycle to school. Or if the weather’s cloudy or nice, I can choose to exercise and be conscious of the environment and cycle to work.”

Mr Lam prides himself in being part of a thriving community of professionals and executives – many of whom have adopted the bike as a serious mode of transport to work.

A typical route involves cycling from home, then boarding a bus or train halfway, and completing the remaining journey to the office, on the bike.

But the folding bike community said that unlike in cities like London or Taipei, where the cycling cultures are much more vibrant, Singapore’s foldable bike scheme leaves much to be desired.

On weekdays, cyclists with bikes are only allowed to board the buses from 9.30am to 4pm, and from 8pm till the end of operating hours – leaving out the bulk of the working crowd.

The bikes are allowed all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. But at any one time, only one unit is allowed to be on a bus.

“Since large luggage and big prams are already allowed on public transport during peak hours, we think that our folding bikes, being a lot smaller than a large luggage or a big pram, should be allowed as well because we probably won’t be adding to the current squeeze,” said Vivian Yuan, owner of digiNEXX, a store that sells foldable bicycles.

Some said it’s an inconvenience when a family wants to have a cycling day out, as only one member is able to load his bicycle. The rest will have to wait their turn to board the next few buses.

Mrs Yuan suggested that the one-bike-one-bus restriction be lifted altogether.

“If a family wants to go to a leisure place to cycle together, a child would have to take the bus himself and then meet his parents at the destination. If you lift the restriction to perhaps two bikes on one bus, that means a parents can follow the child (along on the trip),” she said.

Both Mrs Yuan and Mr Lam have raised their concerns to the LTA at a transport focus group session, conducted by the National Climate Change Secretariat.

For now, this environmentally-friendly lifestyle will have to be reduced to a weekly or leisurely affair.

– CNA /ls