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Found 107 results

  1. SiLangKia

    Public Buses of Yesterday

    We all have relied / are relying on public transportation to get around our sunny little island. For most of us, before getting that driving license, the 2 door Mercedes (front door+back door ) used to be our mode of transport growing up. Was reading up on the different types of public buses in Sg and realised that we used to have a much less homogeneous range of public buses in the past, so I'm just posting a few to bring back memories and keep them alive! Do feel free to add on and share your fond memories of the buses in your life, and the memories associated with them :) Mods please merge if there's a similar thread thanks, tried to find but can't 1. Starting with my fav, which I have taken alot (being a 90s kid) : Mercedes-Benz O405 This was used by both SBS(1989-2011) and SMRT(1994-2016) in various body types: TIB832Z, Hispano Carrocera Bodywork (last SMRT O405, retired in sep 2016) SBS O405, Duple Metsec bodywork 2. Volvo B57, introduced by SBS in 1979-1983 (New Zealand Motor Body) These ran till 1996, and was one of the common sights in the 80s and early 90s 3. Albion Viking EVK41L , in the 1970s when SBS was first formed Some units were first registered as early as 1967 onwards under the Hock Lee bus company, ran till 1987/88 before it left sg roads 4. Mercedes-Benz OF1413 ,1967 onwards source for above pic: https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnoram/6073688117 Ran till around 1993, early buses were first registered from 1967 under the Green Bus Company 5. Leyland Atlantean AN68/2R , 1977 onwards Ran till 2001, one of the first few double decker buses introduced in Sg, one in the pic is with Alexander L bodywork, registered sometime in 1982-1984
  2. 'Grab' concept for SAF transport overhaul source: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/grab-concept-for-saf-transport-overhaul 7 Transport tune-up for SAF Tender for new system aims to optimise resources, improve efficiency The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is seeking to overhaul its transport services, including having a portal for soldiers to make last-minute requests for vehicles. This new system is meant to change the way transport services are provided to military units, such as how requests for drivers, vehicles or fuel are made. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is seeking to overhaul its transport services, including having a portal for soldiers to make last-minute requests for vehicles – similar to a concept employed by private-hire operators like Grab. This new system is meant to change the way transport services are provided to military units from the army, navy or air force, such as how requests for drivers, vehicles or fuel are made. The aim is to optimise SAF’s transport resources and improve the efficiency of operations, by better matching demand to supply. According to tender documents seen by The Straits Times, the new system is also expected to use data analytics to optimise the allocation of resources, based on factors such as the availability of vehicles and drivers, location, distances, and traffic conditions. Called the Next Generation Transport System, it is expected to be deployed 17 months from when the project kicks off, which is within two weeks after the contract has been signed. A tender for the system was published on Dec 5 last year on government procurement portal GeBIZ. The core requirements include the supply and delivery of the system, as well as maintenance support services for five years. The tender documents also set out standards expected for performance tests, cyber-security measures and the need for support services when incidents occur. The tender closed last month. The Ministry of Defence told ST that the army is currently evaluating bids for the tender. “The army seeks to leverage technology to automate and improve the matching of transport demands and resources in a Next Generation Transport System platform,” it said. As of yesterday, the tender has not been awarded. According to the documents, the new transport system should include a one-stop indent portal for transport users and providers to make and respond to requests in the SAF, which uses a “data-driven approach that leverages data analytics for continuous optimisations”. The system should be able to assign the required resources, such as operators and vehicles, which are available and best able to do the job based on the indent request. Selected users can still do a manual override to allocate manually, although “mandatory justifications” have to be entered. In addition, the ordering of military vehicles in advance should be based on a credit-allocation system, where units can submit a request only if they have sufficient credits. The documents state the system should have a tiered charging system, such as a higher credit deduction for last-minute orders. It should also have surge or peakperiod charging, as well as penalty charges for late cancellations or if complaints are made. For last-minute tasks, there will be a pool of military vehicles with assigned operators on stand-by, which is similar to Grab’s concept, it added. The system should also be able to track data including fulfilment rate, mileage, accidents and anomaly reports such as when a vehicle uses 20 per cent more fuel than is expected. It should also track details about drivers and build a driving profile based on information such as driving behaviour, past performance and accident records. “Combining the optimisation tool and the driver profile, (the system) can match the transport operator to the tasking commensurate with his skill level.” Tender documents state that the system should also include a userfriendly mobile app that allows a driver to access his own profile and get notifications of new tasks, and has a route-planning feature. LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY The army seeks to leverage technology to automate and improve the matching of transport demands and resources in a Next Generation Transport System platform. THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE, to The Straits Times. It said the army is currently evaluating bids for the tender.
  3. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/two-new-mrt-stations-for-north-south-line-by-mid-2030s-potential-new-rail-line Why government hate the west so much? I really thought the next line will be serving the west to city.
  4. ShepherdPie

    Public transport business models

    http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/publi...not-sustainable And how much of 13 millions is incurred is once-off expense even due to earlier breakdown. 1) legal fee 2) expert fee 3) repair fee ? Already we can account 2mil to fine that incurred because of the breakdown. Makes me wonder how much the CEO is paid and was the sever package Ms Saw received. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/16/...E8IG36W20120716 Singapore subway operator SMRT will be given the maximum fine of S$2 million ($1.58 million) for two major disruptions in December that affected hundreds of thousands of commuters, a regulator said on Monday. SMRT, which also operates buses and taxis, had net profit of S$120 million in its 2011 fiscal year on revenues of nearly S$1.06 billion, according to Temasek's latest annual report. ($1 = 1.2650 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by John O'Callaghan)
  5. DK stepping down. SMRT's Desmond Kuek stepping down, expected to be replaced by former chief of defence force Neo Kian Hong SINGAPORE - SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek is stepping down after 5½ years at the helm, and his successor is expected to be former chief of defence force Neo Kian Hong, according to reliable sources. Mr Neo, 54, is currently permanent secretary for defence development. He had succeeded Mr Kuek, 55, as Chief of Defence Force in 2010.
  6. Benarsenal

    Public transport to go cashless

    Surprised nobody start thread yet on this... http://www.sgcarmart.com/news/article.php?AID=17435 Next time cannot bring out coins to take bus liao...
  7. Anyone into escooter ? This is a video of two of my Fastwheel F0 escooter. Sometimes I would rather not drive, but to escooter to destinations if it's not too far from home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVjY3tmYqnc
  8. http://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/spore...ransport-system If they only want profit. There is no way we can learn from them. Hong Kong and Taipei transport system are under subsidy if I not wrong.
  9. Let's have a thread on this since I believe a lot of MCFers want cheaper cars and I am sure they have suggestions and people who are in the ministry probably will be reading the forums. I start off first. 1). Incentivise regular car owners with rebates on their road tax for every calendar week their car does not go through an Erp gantry. I did suggest this but they say that they do not believe in rewarding drivers for not driving. 2). Have a 5 year COE instead. This can work like OPC. You bid for your car first using normal channels then of you wish for 5 year COE, you get rebates 50% off COE like how OPC get rebated the $17000. And a 5 year old de registered car can probably fetch a higher value in the export market so its not like a waste of good car. 3). Pay as you bid. Similar to my other thread. I think the problem with the shanghai model is that there will be last minute bids. I would suggest a different way. Put up the number of quotas. Do not reveal real time number of bids or current lowest winning amount. Reveal it only after bidding has stopped. This will make bidders more cautious but no jamming of system since even ten seconds before the bid closed, no one knows the winning amount. Anyone has other suggestions?
  10. Friendstar

    Lui tuck yew as transport ministar

    He is the most disconnected and "elite thinking" person imho.... with him at the transport minstar helm, WE ARE DOOMED
  11. Sdf4786k

    Hover Bikes 2016

    If you think E bike or E scooter will be the next big thing. Think again. Waiting for copy cats to surface. https://youtu.be/X1IW8MplZGw
  12. Kinda curious with this. Anybody with experience may clarify this? 1) SAF drivers gets their SAF Driving License during their army time(different from Civilian’s), but what if you have already gotten a Civilian Driving License before you entered the Army? Will you get posted to the driver vocation? I’ve heard that if you already have a Civilian Driving License, chances of you getting into the Driver Vocation is almost ZERO or you don’t even have a chance as they want to give those people with no license to experience as a driver? How reliable is this? 2) Second question. So example if I got into the driver vocation and I hold both SAF Driving License & Civilian Driving License, and One unfortunate day (example) I am driving the military vehicle and I accidentally got caught committing traffic offences (such as speeding/beat red light/knock down people with no intention), does it affect only my SAF driving license only and get charged, or it will also affect my Civilian driving license as well? Meaning both my SAF & Civilian driving license gets affected (Demerit points etc.) It just some thought that makes me curious & just for in case. Accidents do happen, I know we can prevent it but it’s just for some knowledge.
  13. Hi, Anyone got lobang to transport and old fridge and split Aircon to KL? Too waste to throw it away, want to give it to my relatives back in kl...
  14. Hi guys, My 10-yr old car is due in August, total mileage only about 107K. That is really low from what people tell me. If I buy a new car, the mileage will probably be even less since I take MRT to work to save on parking. The car is really only used for weekends, and occasionally to fetch my children from school. If you were in my shoes, would you buy a car or just take taxi when needed? I’m not thinking of renewing COE because my car has engine and gearbox problems already.
  15. Before May 2006 Yeo Chow Tong. Ater May 2006 Raymond Lim. A big thank you for the current state of Transport in Singapore
  16. LifePro_Tips

    Annie Transportation Service

    Annie Transportation Services Established in 1995, Annie Transportation Services has grown into an experienced and reliable company that caters to clients’ relocation and transportation needs both locally and in Malaysia. “Whether our customers are moving across the street or across the causeway, Annie Transportation has the knowledge, expertise and resources to make our customers’ relocation and transportation experience as hassle free as possible, completing the job on time every time. We pride ourselves in delivering premium customer care and cost effective services for our clients every step of the way. No job is too little or small for us,” quoted Annie Transportation Services. The experienced and reliable staffs at Annie Transportation Services have extensive experience with the intricacies of moving personal effects, household appliances and beloved furniture pieces to clients’ new home or office location. The company offers competitive and reasonable packages that come with packing materials like carton boxes, bubble packs, corrugated rolls, brown papers, and tapes to ensure all valuables and fragile items are protected and handled with care. Its domestic move service includes professional packing or wrapping of all items and the usage of well maintained covered trucks for a safe transit to the new location. Upon reaching the new premises, all furniture items will be unpacked, assembled and positioned after consultation with clients. All debris will be removed thereafter. Annie Transportation Services 10 Anson Road #05-14 International Plaza Singapore 079903. For more information, please call 96256489.
  17. Darthrevan

    Singapore still lacks the ride stuff

    Pupils of a primary school in Sengkang chain their bicycles to railings as they are not allowed to park them in the school. Such attitudes need to change so people are encouraged to use bicycles for transport. More than 500 cities in the world have bicycle-sharing schemes. Singapore is not among them. Although the Government announced bold plans last month to build a staggering 700km of cycling paths by 2030 - the equivalent of cycling from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and back - that alone will not make Singapore a cycling city. We have fallen behind other cities that actively promote cycling as a mode of transport. There are various reasons why we should pedal hard to catch up. Cycling is a green option that can be an efficient people-mover for transport planners. Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/singapore-still-lacks-the-ride-stuff-20131109
  18. SG50 giveaway for senior citizens 1. Take your parent's senior citizen card (those age 60) and go to The Transit Link machine (MRT or bus interchange), 2. place the card n select SG voucher 3. process, then Ok 4. $50 deposited to the card from Govt. Every senior citizen, with senior citizen card will entitled every little bit helps. TGIF bros
  19. "The government is consulting stakeholders on measures that can be taken to further enhance Singapore’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and promote green growth beyond 2020. As a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Singapore is actively involved in ongoing negotiations to work out a new global agreement on climate change by end 2015. One key strategy is energy efficiency, especially as Singapore has limited alternative energy sources." "Share Your Views We want to hear your views on any of the following areas for action. We also welcome your perspectives on the last document – pertaining to harnessing economic and green growth opportunities in clean energy, urban solutions, research and test bedding, among others:" - from https://www.nccs.gov.sg/consultation2015
  20. Here we go again & the spin doctors are hard at it doing window dressing; http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/from-april-a-2-8-hike-in/1605426.html SINGAPORE: There will be an overall increase of 2.8 per cent to public transport fares following the conclusion of the 2014 Fare Review Exercise, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced on Wednesday (Jan 21). How the 2.8 per cent figure was calculated: By aggregating the 3.4 per cent fare adjustment quantum carried over from the 2013 Fare Review Exercise with the -0.6 per cent figure from 2014, the PTC said. But fares for senior citizen, and existing monthly travel concession prices will not rise, said the PTC. The Transport Ministry separately announced on Wednesday that fares for lower-wage workers and persons with disabilities will not increase, while the monthly concession pass for persons with disabilities will remain at S$60 per month. “In total, more than 1.1 million commuters will see their fares unchanged,” the PTC said in a press release. FARE CHANGES FROM APRIL From Apr 5 this year, adult card fares for buses and trains will increase by 2 to 5 cents, while student concessionary fares will increase by 1 cent, the PTC announced. Cash fares for adult bus and train rides will increase by 10 cents, while senior and student cash fares will remain unchanged. The prices of all monthly concession passes for adults, National Servicemen and senior citizens will remain the same, it reiterated. The PTC said bus and train fares will continue to be affordable, even for lower-income groups, as household income growth has generally outpaced household expenditure in public transport. For instance, in 2013, the second quintile (the 21st to 40th income percentile) and second decile (11th to 20th income percentile) of households in Singapore spent 2.2 per cent and 3.1 per cent of their monthly income on public transport, respectively. These were down from the 3.2 per cent and 4.6 percent, respectively, in 2003, it said. Said PTC Chairman Richard Magnus: “In approving the fare increase and deciding on the quantum, the Council made a concerted effort to minimise the impact on commuters, even to the extent of insulating some from the increase altogether. Overall, the fare adjustments for the 2014 fare exercise are lower than last year’s adjustments.” IMPACT ON OPERATORS With the fare increments, the PTC said the two public transport operators – SBS Transit and SMRT – will have to contribute S$5.5 million and S$8 million, respectively, to the Public Transport Fund. The total of S$13.5 million is S$2 million more than their contribution last year, according to the press release. The Government will utilise the Public Transport Fund to provide Public Transport Vouchers to lower-income households to mitigate the increase in their travel expenditure, it added. “I am always very concerned not only with making transport fares affordable, but making sure that our low-income families who need more assistance will be looked after,” Mr Magnus said. “The contributions to the Public Transport Fund by the operators will help defray the travel expenditure of these needy families.” "PLEASED" VULNERABLE GROUPS NOT AFFECTED BY HIKES: LUI Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said on Facebook that he was "pleased" that more than 1.1 million commuters, particularly more vulnerable groups like senior citizens and persons with disabilities, will not experience a fare increase. "Looking at the overall outcome of this year’s fare adjustment exercise, I believe the Public Transport Council has achieved a good balance between keeping fares affordable for Singaporeans and maintaining the viability and sustainability of our public transport system," he wrote. He added that the 250,000 public transport vouchers of S$30 will be provided to needy commuters, and the ministry aims to simplify the application process further. "We also have other plans on the meaningful use of the Public Transport Fund and I will share these with you when we are ready," the minister said.
  21. SGCM_editorial

    Cars vs Buses

    Conventional wisdom tells us that public transport is more efficient than private transport. Transport executives and urban planners will rattle off data in support of this, citing, for instance, that it would take around 30 cars – with an average of two occupants per vehicle – to equal the capacity of a single-deck bus. And of course, the road space taken up by those 30 cars is much more compared to one bus. Common sense also tells us that the argument holds true. If you do a search on the Net, you will also find many counter-arguments, with most of them citing the low occupancy rate of public buses. But these arguments hinge on national figures in fairly large countries, with a mix of rural and urban bus operations. And averages often tell a strange tale. For instance, the average occupancy of public buses in the UK in 2005 was nine. Obviously, a full-sized bus with the capacity for 60 to 70 passengers isn’t going to be very efficient with only nine aboard. It is worse if you factor in the fuel consumption of a full-sized city bus (2.5km to 3km per litre). Against these numbers, the car makes a lot more sense. How will the argument pan out in a highly built-up city state such as Singapore, though? If we go by persistent complaints of crowdedness by commuters, it would seem the asset utilisation of bus fleets here is much higher. Therefore, we can infer that public transport is more efficient than private cars on this sunny island. But is it true? Based on our calculations, it is only the case during peak hours, when buses are generally operating close to full capacity. In off-peak periods, buses have an occupancy level of as low as 20 per cent. Let us look at averages, then. According to the Land Transport Authority, the average bus trip is 4.5km (2011 data). The average number of trips a leading bus company here caters to is 2.6 million a day. Over a year, it caters to 949 million trips, and it uses 130 million to 140 million litres of diesel. To work out the average fuel efficiency of each trip, multiply the annual trips by average trip distance (4.5km) and you will get 4.27 billion km. Divide that by 135 million litres and you will get 31.6km/L. That is efficient, if compared to the average fuel efficiency of an average car with a single occupant (10km/L, according to LTA data). But what if you have two or more occupants per car? The equation becomes vastly different, even if you factor in an average three per cent increase in fuel consumption per additional occupant. If you have four occupants, the car effectively becomes more fuel-efficient than the bus. If you drive a thrifty petrol-electric hybrid like the Toyota Prius, you will need only two occupants in the car to match the fuel efficiency of a bus. But the truth is that not every car here is a Prius, and quite often, it has only one or two occupants. So, the answer to improving the fuel efficiency of driving is to either car-pool or choose a fuel-efficient model like the Prius. What about road space? Even with four people per car, we would need 17 cars to match the capacity of a single-deck bus, or around 30 cars to match the ferrying capacity of a double-decker or bendy bus. Well, cars do not have to travel a fixed route or stick to a fixed schedule like buses, although the state of peak-hour traffic seems to suggest that they do. They can spread out over space and time. And if they do, they will contribute far less to congestion. For cars to be able to spread out over space and time more effectively, we’d essentially require two things: flexible working hours and decentralised urban planning. Singapore currently has neither. It would take years to change the culture to facilitate the former, and decades of innovative town planning to make the latter happen. One last thought: Can Singapore’s population of about 610,000 cars cater to the total 3.4 million bus trips that commuters make a day? With technology and a willingness to share, yes. Singapore’s car population clocks a cumulative 12.2 billion km a year – more than double the total mileage clocked by bus commuters. It is conceivable that half of this 12.2 billion km is travelled in cars occupied by only one or two persons. With a system similar to car-sharing schemes such as Car2go, Zipcar and DriveMyCar, it is possible to match the underutilised car capacity with demand from bus commuters. But until then, buses will continue to fulfil a vital role in our land transport landscape. This article was written by Christopher Tan, consulting editor for Torque.
  22. IT SEEMS obvious by now that the Government's handling of housing issues has been the most successful of several outstanding policy issues. At least, this is going by the results of a recent Straits Times survey on key election issues and their progress since the 2011 General Election. By contrast, government policies on transport issues have yet to resonate. What factors have led to the success in housing policy? What lessons can be applied to transport issues? Three points come to mind. They are: Targeting different social groups more carefully, being relevant, and implementing policies that the targeted groups can readily understand and appreciate. The challenge is to fine-tune policies to meet the needs of different groups more closely. For housing, the different groups included the first-time flat seeker, the sandwiched middle class, singles, and marginalised groups such as single mothers and divorcees with children. For first-time flat seekers, for whom a backlog had already built up, focused policies included building a record number of flats. The move was so successful that within three years, a balance was restored. The average application rate for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats fell from 5.3 per applicant in 2010 to a low of 2.9. A special subsidy was provided for households earning $2,250 or less, with eligible buyers limited to two-room or three-room flats. The Government also expanded its Special Housing Grants to households earning less than $6,500 a month. Applicants could opt for a four-room flat and still qualify for up to $20,000 more in subsidies. There was also the slew of policies related to the rental market, which made it accessible to a wider range of households (and not just lower-income groups). Competition for flats from permanent residents was reduced by making the latter wait for three years after getting their residency. Citizens felt good that they had been given priority. The Housing Board also de-linked new-flat prices from those of resale flats to stabilise BTO flat prices. There was a concerted effort to address the cash-over-valuation component. This was removed completely in the resale market. The move was particularly helpful for young couples, who could take only smaller loans and found it difficult to pay out additional cash. All these measures were announced in quick succession. The cooler market that resulted helped meet citizen expectations. Each group felt attended to, and that created a feel-good, positive attitude. But what about the transport sector? Here, commuters are challenged by overcrowded trains and buses. There is intense competition for road space among cars, buses, taxis, bicycles and pedestrians. Vehicle owners are frustrated with the prices of certificates of entitlement (COEs), which vary with market forces and the growth of the car population. Public anger is compounded when public-listed transport companies report profits, while overcrowding, rail breakdowns and delayed buses are the norm. To be fair, the Government has taken action to improve the situation. It announced several concessions for commuters. Plans are on track to have more trains and to build more lines. Bus commuters will enjoy the $1.1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme and efforts to make bus services more regular. For car owners, there will be a review of the carbon emissions-based vehicle scheme. Cyclists will see more bicycle racks to secure 3,000 bicycles at 32 MRT stations. Pedestrians can enjoy more sheltered linkways and lifts at 40 pedestrian overhead bridges. And yet, these excellent, far-reaching policies have made little impression on the public. Why? I believe that unlike in housing, where each measure can be seen to be directly linked to a specific group, transport measures have appeared piecemeal. Transport policymakers must clearly define the various groups they need to address and formulate policies to help each group. Policymakers also need to explain how each set of changes will improve the lot of the various commuters or motorists involved. Take one category of disgruntled commuters: Those who travel by taxi. They want changes to work in their favour immediately. Taxi charges in Singapore are among the most complicated in the world. Surcharges often lead to unintended consequences. The midnight surcharge has led to taxis "disappearing" close to midnight. Surcharges and electronic road pricing charges have kept taxis from the Central Business District, where they are most needed, especially during peak periods. And yet, cabbies complain that they often cruise with their cabs empty. In fact, a solution is nigh. Why not allow and promote the usage of mobile phone taxi-booking apps? Taxi apps offered by third parties like GrabTaxi, Easy Taxi, MoobiTaxi and Uber match cabbies directly with commuters. These apps may appear to be disruptive technology from the point of view of existing taxi companies, which have invested heavily in their call centres. But they cater to taxi commuters' needs. Then, there are public transport commuters. One segment that has been marginalised due to accessibility or high fares are the lower-income, the disabled, the elderly and students. The Government has identified this segment as needing help, and has set aside about $50 million a year for fare concessions. But are these measures enough? Besides incremental gains, there should be transformational policies to bring about the tipping point that was seen in the housing issues. Look for a nexus that resonates. For example, why not use money collected from COEs to support bus and train commuters, and to help meet the needs of special groups like the elderly, students and the disabled? COE quota premiums are a relatively stable source of revenue. For buses, why not allow more private operators like City Direct to operate bus services, to compete with the existing transport companies? Building on the growing public acceptance of transport improvements and concessions, look seriously at structural issues to bring on the kudos from commuters. For now, the policy initiatives have yet to come together in a more impactful way to resonate with people. -- ST FILE PHOTO by Basskaran Nair The writer, a retired public relations professional, teaches media and public policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.
  23. ST_Opinion

    Paving the way for comfortable rides

    Events in recent years have underscored the need for Singapore to ramp up its transport infrastructure, as well as to rejuvenate what has already been built. Overcrowded trains and buses, long and unpredictable waiting times, and glitches in the rail system have been top grouses since as early as 2004. It did not help that Singapore's population grew by more than 30 per cent in the last decade to hit 5.4 million last year. Public transport ridership soared by more than 50 per cent over the same period to 6.36 million trips a day. Meanwhile, two major rail breakdowns in December 2011 brought into sharp focus the need for infrastructural upkeep on the back of fast-rising usage demand. The Government has responded fairly swiftly. But experts say a sustainable solution to managing public transport demand also needs measures such as increasing flexi-work arrangements, telecommuting or decentralised office hubs. On the capacity front, the Government is setting aside an estimated $2 billion to replace ageing parts in all the major rail lines together with rail operators. It is also in the process of rolling out a bus service enhancement programme - likely to cost in excess of $1.1 billion - which will boost fleet size by 20 per cent. And in January last year, it announced a slew of new lines that will grow Singapore's rail network to 360km - double its current length. This is on top of $60 billion of investments in place for ongoing projects such as the Downtown and Thomson lines. In all, transport-related projects may cost more than $150 billion. This is more than 40 per cent of Singapore's total foreign reserves last year, and seven times the 20-year transport infrastructure spending envisioned by a White Paper released in 1996. By any measure, it is a highly ambitious programme. The question is, will it be economically sustainable to go on ramping up capacity this way? This is especially when capacity is often designed to cater to peak demand, which is usually less than two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. Hence such a network tends to be "underutilised" for the rest of the day. Average bus occupation, for instance, is only 20 per cent. Transport experts have thus called for other measures such as promoting flexible working hours and telecommuting. Attempts to stagger working hours were made back in the early 1970s to ease traffic congestion. But the campaign never did gain much traction. According to a study published by the Manpower Ministry in 2001, flexi-time was practised by only 0.3 per cent of all private-sector employees. Telecommuting was even more uncommon, with a participation rate of merely 0.1 per cent. And those who work entirely from home accounted for just 0.01 per cent of employees. While more current figures are not readily available, there are signs that flexi-time is still not widely accepted. Last June, the Transport Ministry launched a year-long free-tra-vel initiative to encourage commuters to travel just before the morning peak, following a Travel Smart initiative rolled out in October 2012 to persuade people to shift their peak-hour travel time by 15 minutes. Response was encouraging initially, with around 9 per cent of peak-hour commuters travelling earlier. But this has since fallen to 6 to 7 per cent. Certainly, the scheme has potential for improvement - perhaps even without additional tax spending (the year-long free tra-vel initiative costs $10 million). In 2004, a study by the UK Strategic Rail Authority found that train overcrowding can be eased substantially by widening the differential between peak and off-peak fares. This means giving off-peak fare discounts or wai-vers, as well as raising peak-pe-riod fares. Not only does this help the operator maintain financial viability, but the shift of peak demand also reduces the financial burden of having to run additional trains during peak hour. Analysts suggest the savings here would more than cover the cost of providing free fares. However, adjunct Professor Paul Barter, who teaches transport policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, says there are limits to what flexi-time arrangements can do to flatten peak travel volumes. This is because there is "dynamic tension" between two things that people want: a regular schedule that gives them fixed times at home or with friends, and more comfortable travel. Because of this tension, people will modify travel patterns "even without the Government doing anything". And if there is less overcrowding during the peak period because some commuters have altered their travelling time, others will move in to fill the space freed up. Prof Barter, however, notes that flexi-time can contribute to shorter peaks, which range from "five to 10 minutes in Canberra to three to four hours in Jakarta". Also, if people were free to adjust their travelling time, "they would complain less", he said. He feels that many employers in Singapore "are more rigid than they need to be" in this respect. Indeed, a survey by the Land Transport Authority in 2012 found that the top reason for workers not telecommuting was that employers rarely allow it. And about 80 per cent of 1,500 people polled said they would take up flexi-work arrangements if these were made available. Finally, experts say a decentralised city is key to improving accessibility without increasing mobility. Even though Singapore had a decentralisation strategy since the 1980s, it has not gained much traction - until now. "There was a time when it was felt that having a big CBD (Central Business District) was good for the economy," recalls Prof Barter. "But I think it is better to have many sub-centres across the island." Now, several sub-centres are in the works, including Jurong Lake District, Woodlands and the Kallang Riverside. All these will allow more people to live near where they work, and work near where they play. Meanwhile, cities the world over are increasingly looking to "soft" demand management measures to spread out peak loads on transport systems. In 2008, Melbourne started offering free travel to commuters who arrive at the CBD before 7am. It led 23 per cent of commuters to travel out of peak hours. Monetary measures are not the only way to temper peak demand. In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, London embarked on a public education and awareness campaign to prepare for the foreseeable surge in travel demand. The programme included reducing the need to travel, spacing out journeys, shifting to walking or cycling, as well as re-routing to less busy routes. The result was encouraging. Despite record ridership - London Underground, for instance, carried 4.52 million passengers on Aug 9, the highest in its history - the transport network coped well. Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi has spelt out a transport mobility management strategy as it prepares for a possible trebling of its population by 2030. It includes park-and-ride, car-sharing, flexible working hours, and telecommuting plans. All these are in place in Singapore, even if they lack scale. But things may be changing. Last year, the Urban Redevelopment Authority unveiled plans for a 700km cycling path network by 2030 - thrice the length of the current network. And URA chief planner Lim Eng Hwee leads by example: He cycles to work.