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Private vehicle journeys in Singapore see first drop since 1997: LTA

THE number of trips made with private vehicles dropped for the first time in almost two decades in 2016, even as overall travel demand increased the same year, a Land Transport Authority (LTA) survey showed.

According to the latest Household Interview Travel Survey (HITS), conducted between 2016 and 2017, overall travel demand increased by 5 per cent, to 15.4 million journeys, from HITS 2012.

Journeys made with buses and trains climbed from 5.5 million trips in 2012 to hit a record high of 6.1 million in 2016, the same year trips made with private vehicles went into a decline for the first time since 1997.

But the survey results showed that daily trips made with private vehicles hit 4.2 million in 2016, 13 per cent fewer than in 2012 when the figure was 4.8 million, said the LTA.

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During that same period, car ownership fell as well, with only 39 per cent of households reporting that they owned a car, down from 46 per cent in 2012.

In releasing the findings on Friday, the LTA said this points to a possible shift with Singapore residents switching from private vehicles to public transport for their daily commute.

During the morning peak, public transport's share hit 67 per cent in 2016 - up from 63 in 2012.

This puts Singapore "firmly on track to achieving our Land Transport Masterplan 2013 target of having 75 per cent of all journeys during peak hours made using public transport by 2030", the LTA said.

The survey found daily rail journeys increasing to 2.7 million, up from 2.3 million in 2012, while the number of journeys taken by bus also grew, from 3.2 million in 2012 to 3.4 million in 2016.

The LTA attributed this to the expansion of Singapore's rail network; injection of more trains into the system; and the addition of 1,000 new buses and 80 new bus routes under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme.

Meanwhile, the number of trips taken by taxis and private-hire cars increased from 0.8 million in 2012 to 1 million in 2016, buoyed by the emergence of private-hire car operators such as Grab and Uber.

The increase in the number of both sheltered walkways and cycling paths has also made cycling, walking or using personal mobility devices more viable options for short journeys, said the LTA.

About 2.6 million respondents indicated they took such journeys daily in 2016, up from 2.2 million in 2012.

The LTA also announced that public consultations for the next Land Transport Masterplan will begin in September, through online platforms as well as focus group discussions.

The plan, which is updated every five years, charts the development of Singapore's transport system.

A poll will go up on the LTA website from Friday (Aug 31) to get members of the public to share their views on various land transport issues. They can also indicate their interest to participate in other engagement programmes.

"The public, industry players and other stakeholders will be invited to share their views and ideas on the future of our land transport system," said an LTA spokesman.

She added: "This will help foster a conversation on how quickly, at what cost, and with what priorities we should achieve our shared vision for the future of land transport."

THE STRAITS TIMES