isuda bike share – increase transport share of train and bus

Can we make public transport more attractive than car?

As long as people can afford a car, it is never easy to convince them to switch to public transportation. Car is seen as a door-to-door solution while rail or bus can only bring you from station to station. The “last-mile” connection, the trouble of walking a long distance from station to destination, or the long waiting time for shuttle bus, is the main reason that put people off.

The public transport mode share in Singapore has dropped from 67% to 60% between 1997 and 2010. At the same time, the increased number of car trips had significant implications on the environment in terms of noise, air pollution and congestion. By 2020 LTA expects that travel demand will increase from 11 million to 14.3 million journeys a day. The projected increase in travel demand must be met largely by public transport rather than by cars. However, given the declining trend of public transport mode share, is it really possible to convert some drivers to use public transport and leave their car at home?

The mission set out in the 2008 LTA master plan is to double the number of daily public transport journeys from 5 million to 10 million by 2020. There is an urgent need to come up with a solution that will eliminate or reduce the last-mile issue so that public transport can be as attractive as a door-to-door solution.

Public transport is the most efficient means of carrying large numbers of people over long distance between stations. What it needs is a last-mile-connection solution that caters for the personal needs of individual commuters. It needs to be flexible in time schedule as well as destination. Shuttle bus or LRT won’t cut it because it is still operating as a mass transport and is not flexible enough to meet individual needs.

Last-mile-connection, the personal solution
The ideal last-mile-connection solution exists today in the form of public share bicycle. Public bicycle program provides short term bicycle rental, you can pick up a share bicycle from one of many stations, cycle to another station and return the bicycle there. A good program consists of high number of bicycle stations distributed in all “hot spots” where commuters need to go. The concept has been proven to be successful in more than 200 share bicycle schemes all over the world, including Paris, London, Washington DC, Hang Zhou and very soon New York. The main advantage of public share bicycle is the flexibility in mobility it can afford for each individual. Unlike shuttle bus running on a fixed schedule and fixed route, a share bicycle can be picked up anytime to any destination directly. Thus a public share bicycle program is the ideal last-mile-connection for distance public transportation.

Here a short video showing the usage of the 1000 share bicycles, “Barclays bike” in London, on a Monday last October from 6am to midnight. It is clear that no shuttle bus can provide the same level of service of the share bike system in terms of flexibility in time, routes and destination.

Boris Bikes redux from Sociable Physics on Vimeo.

Cost effective solution- the Isuda
The main reason that current bicycle share programs are not expanding faster is the high operation cost to redistribute the bicycles to where it is most needed, as well as the high cost of installing the bicycle stations. Isuda is an innovation to reduce the cost of installation and operation cost substantially. In Isuda program, the bicycle stations can be converted to “mobile mode” and can be towed to another location efficiently. This eliminates the time and efforts needed to unload and load each bicycle between stations and the moving trucks before and after distribution. It is also much cheaper to produce a movable station compared to the various cost to install a fixed station.

10 minutes hot-zone
According to LTA statistic, 70% commuters use MRT within a hot-zone; radius of 800 meters or about 10 minutes walking distance. Many people drive because they are not living within the 10 minutes distance. Cycling is 4 times as fast as walking, which can extend the hot-zone radius to 3.2 km, or 16 times the original hot-zone area. Isuda program has the potential to multiply the hot-zone of any MRT station by 16 times! Many of the drivers who live beyond the 800 meter radius while within the 3.2 km can now consider to take public trains as the Isuda program will transport them to the nearest bus station or MRT station within 10 minutes.

Safety by number
The more people cycle, the safer it is for all cyclists and other road users. It is a known phenomenon called “safety by number”. With the Isuda Program, the number of cyclists on roads will be multiplied. Since Isuda bicycles are used by many persons everyday, each Isuda bicycle will be seen more often on roads, making roads safer to everybody.

Space saving for MRT
Each isuda station take up the space of a single car park. The same space is sufficient for 10 bicycles. Since each Isuda bicycle serves 5 persons in average, a single car park space can be used to server 50 cyclists. Thus it is highly space efficient for MRT and buildings to allocate space for Isuda.

Good business
Isuda effectively brings potential customers to your door steps. With a Isuda station nearby, your shops will become a hot-spot immediately. Commuters can easily pick up grocery or stop for a coffee break.

Low cost
Due to the innovation, we can offer isuda as a low cost service at the same or lower fee compared to taking shuttle bus.

Good for the planet and people
By supporting isuda bike share, you are helping to reduce carbon emission, noise pollution and at the same time you are promoting healthy cycling, improve fitness, road safety and local businesses.

Some of the idea here may seem too radical or too idealistic, but let’s take a look at the following video and ask “Do I want to be the change that I want to see?”

This is how bicycle commuting could look like – moderate speed, all age groups, efficient, carrying all kinds of stuffs, no helmet and obviously safe, lot of fun and fitness exercise.

isuda bike share is now open to accept supporters. If you want to play a part as volunteer or as a business partner, please leave a comment to share your view.
Where would you like to see ISUDA share bike? add your preferred location here.

-Francis Chu

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Agy September 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Great site! Keep up the good work. I love to cycle around my neighbourhood – to run errands, send my son off to school etc. Wish there was a safe place to lock my bike though -reports of bikes being stolen outside our local library & MRT station :-(


Agy September 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Oh! Forgot to mention that it’s a great way to explore the parks too :-)


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