Low Ridership To CBD Due To Flexible Working Arrangements
SINGAPORE – Even though 100 percent of staff are permitted to work in the office since April 2022, data from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) showed that the number of people going to the central business district (CBD) during weekday morning peak hours is around half of pre-COVID levels, reported The Straits Times on Tuesday noon (20 December, SGT).
Moreover, during the 1st 10 months of the year, weekday trips on buses and trains during morning and evening peak hours averaged 1.22 million, which is just 77.8 percent of the 1.57 million trips recorded over the same period in 2019.
Market watchers said the lower ridership is primarily due to flexible working arrangements and the reconfiguration of workspaces to support hot-desking and hybrid work, in which there is no fixed office space for employees.
The office has adapted to become more of a “destination” that staff go to to perform a specific goal, like meeting a customer or interacting with colleagues, said Cushman & Wakefield’s Research Head in Singapore Wong Xian Yang.
Aside from that, consultancy company Ramboll’s Head of the Singapore smart mobility department Ray Krishna noted that some office properties in the city-state’s CBD are being redeveloped into mixed-use projects that not only contains office space, but also includes homes, shopping centres, and other amenities.
She said this is another factor for the change in travel patterns from before, when all inbound traffic into Singapore’s CBD were during morning peak hours, while outbound trips from the city were made during the evening peak.
However, Cushman’s Wong shared that around 91 percent of the office supply here remains concentrated in the central region, with the downtown core accounting for about 48 percent of the office stock.
But demand for office buildings outside the CBD could be driven by the uncertain economic outlook, in addition office rents in these areas are cheaper than those in the downtown area.
“Over the longer term, we anticipate more offices in decentralised locations, and this would influence travel patterns in Singapore,” he added.