Government intensifies efforts to encourage more employers
to support off-peak public transport travel, and sustainable, healthy modes of travel
Funding for companies to promote flexi-travel
- The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is launching a new Travel Smart Network to encourage more companies to create supportive environments for flexi-travel for their employees, i.e. to be able to travel on public transport during off-peak periods, and to take up sustainable modes of travel such as cycling and walking, thereby reducing the demand for peak hour travel .
- For a start, LTA will partner companies based near MRT stations with a staff strength of more than 200 employees.
Travel Smart Network to benefit companies
- Travel Smart Network companies will be able to tap on three new initiatives:
From 1 August 2014
- Corporate-Tier Travel Smart Rewards for which employees of Travel Smart Network companies can enroll and enjoy an attractive sign-up points bonus. For more details on Corporate-Tier Travel Smart Rewards and Travel Smart Rewards (TSR), please refer to Annex B. Rewards under the TSR are now much more attractive, with a new monthly top lucky draw prize of $1,500, for one winner every month.
From 1 November 2014
- Travel Smart Consultancy Voucher of up to $30,000 to engage approved consultants to conduct employee travel pattern analysis and develop travel demand management action plans tailored to the needs of the company and its employees. These will help companies gain an insight into their employees’ travel patterns and understand the motivating factors, as well as determine potential Travel Smart measures.
Participating organisations can benefit from expert advice on understanding employees’ concerns, and opportunities with regard to more flexible travel and work arrangements for employees, thereby reducing unnecessary work-commuting, and realising productivity gains.
- Travel Smart Grant of up to $160,000 annually for three years to co-fund the cost of initiatives which companies put in place to support the adoption of flexi-travel arrangements by their employees. These include arrangements that give employees the flexibility to travel to work earlier or later after the morning peak period, use more sustainable modes of transport like cycling, or reduce the need to travel by working away from the office. Please refer to Annex A for the list of possible initiatives under the Travel Smart Grant.
Employers play a pivotal role
- Employers play a pivotal role in enabling shifts in the travel patterns of their employees. Since October 2012, 12 companies have participated in a pilot to implement various initiatives such as tele-commuting and allowing staff to work from home before travelling to office after the morning peak period.
- The pilot has shown encouraging results and enabled more employees of the pilot companies to shift their travel patterns. In a survey of about 3,800 employees from the companies between October 2013 and January 2014, close to 12% of respondents said they had shifted out of the morning peak of 8.30am – 9am. Of the companies located in the Central Business District, 35% of the employee respondents said that they were active beneficiaries of the free pre-peak travel on the MRT, with 22% of the respondents travelling pre-peak at least three or more times weekly. In addition to more pleasant rides and the availability of flexi-work arrangements, other reasons which prompted respondents to travel earlier included time- and cost-savings.
- LTA Group Director for Policy and Planning, Mr Jeremy Yap said: “What we found from the pilot study is that support from employers, the availability of flexi-work arrangements and other supporting measures play a significant role in employees’ ability to travel flexibly, be it off-peak, or even working from home. The three key ideas that bring about the change in travel pattern are the facilitation of tele-commuting, the availability of flexi-work options, as well as supporting activities like the provision of morning programmes such as exercise, team-bonding or breakfast sessions before work. With these encouraging results from the trial, we know that there is scope for more companies to participate in Travel Smart so more can benefit from flexi-travel and work arrangements.”
Employers and employees have benefitted from Travel Smart
- Employers and employees who have participated in the Travel Smart Pilot programme have benefited from the experience. Said Mr Stephen Tjoa, Partner for People, Performance and Culture from KPMG Services Pte Ltd, “As a majority of our employees use public transport to get to work, the Travel Smart pilot programme allows us to promote alternative flexible work arrangements. We are piloting a flexi-hours programme, and about 13% of those eligible have taken this up. We believe that flexibility is sometimes required to meet the varied personal needs of our employees to increase work performance and productivity.”
- As a beneficiary of the Travel Smart pilot in Rajah & Tann, Ms Belle Wang, Legal Secretary shared: “Travel Smart has made a difference to my lifestyle. Other than cost savings on the one-way MRT ride to work, I am able to spend more time with my two daughters in the morning when I join them and my husband in the car ride to their school, before I board the MRT train. My firm provides free early breakfast to staff who arrives before 8 am. I love this programme not only for the benefits of free transport and breakfast but also how it allows me some early morning bonding time with my family.”
- Companies that wish to join the Travel Smart Network can email LTA-TravelSmart@lta.gov.sg for more details.
 This scheme complements the Ministry of Manpower’s WorkPro initiative which provides funding support to improve work-life harmony, and to recruit and retain back-to-work and mature workers.
 From 1 August 2014, INSINC (also known as “Incentives for Singapore’s Commuters”) will be rebranded to Travel Smart Rewards. INSINC was launched in January 2012 to incentivise morning peak-hour rail commuters to travel during off-peak hours. Within two years of implementation, INSINC has shifted almost 10% of participants’ weekday morning peak period trips to off-peak travel.