Khaw defends NParks' purchase of $2,200 foldable bicycle

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has stated via his blog that he supports the National Parks Board's (NParks) decision to purchase Brompton foldable bikes for its staff.

Some Singaporeans had questioned why the purchase for the 26 bicycles - each costing $2,200 - was approved.

Mr Khaw wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that he had asked NParks for the rationale for the purchase. He said NParks cited staff productivity as the main reason for the purchase: "Providing staff with bikes was thought to be a simple and effective way to raise staff productivity as it enables the officer to cover more ground and do more inspections within the same time."

NParks officers in the Park Connector Division cover between 30 to 40km in their daily rounds.

Mr Khaw added that a foldable bicycle was chosen because such bicycles "would eliminate the need for an office van to transport the bikes and the staff to the areas of their daily rounds". The NParks staff would also be able to carry them onto buses and trains where necessary.

He also said that Brompton was picked because only one vendor responded to the tender with a bid price lower than the listed retail price of the same bicycle.

While a Brompton bike costs more than foldable bicycles with similar specifications, Mr Khaw said cyclists told him the bike was durable and would require less maintenance after heavy usage.

He concluded: "It looks like NParks has bought the right equipment. However, it also looks like NParks might have gotten a better deal if there was greater participation in this quotation."

According to the Lianhe Zaobao report where the NParks purchase was first reported, a police officer's bicycle costs about $1,000 while Singapore Post's postmen use bicycles which cost about $500.

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