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Commuting initiatives to encourage flexible working hours

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has launched a new Travel Smart Network in the hopes of encouraging employers to support more flexible working hours in Singapore.

Through various monetary incentives, LTA is hoping more companies will support employees travelling on public transport during off-peak periods, and to take up sustainable modes of transport such as cycling and walking, which will ease peak-hour congestion.

The new system will consist of three initiatives:

From 1 August 2014

1. Corporate-Tier Travel Smart Rewards for which employees of Travel Smart Network companies can enroll and enjoy a sign-up points bonus. Rewards under the Travel Smart Rewards now include a new monthly top lucky draw prize of $1,500 for one winner every month.

From 1 November 2014

2. 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. This aims to 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 the advice to better understand employee concerns, and take advantage of opportunities with regard to more flexible travel and work arrangements for employees.

3. 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.

This includes 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.

Also read: Local bosses "generally supportive" of work-life balance

Since the pilot programme was launched in October 2012, 12 companies have taken part.

A survey of about 3,800 employees found close to 12% of respondents had been able to shift out of the morning peak of  8.30am – 9am. More than a third of respondents from companies located in the Central Business District added they were active beneficiaries of the free pre-peak travel on the MRT, with 22% travelling before the peak period at least three or more times weekly.

"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," Jeremy Yap, LTA's group director for policy and planning, said.

"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."

More information about these initiatives can be found here.

Image: Shutterstock

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