Monday, 5 December 2011

More measures to bring relief to commuters during peak hours

Besides trains, more measures to spread commuter loads
TODAY, 3 Dec 2011

WE REFER to the letter "Let's not just wait for new trains" (Nov 23).

We assure Mr Jimmy Chan that besides adding trains to the existing rail system, the Land Transport Authority is working with the public transport operators on a comprehensive range of measures to bring relief to commuters, particularly during peak hours.

The ongoing review of bus service levels is an example.

Recognising that rail infrastructure and procurement have longer lead times, LTA is conducting a comprehensive review to improve bus service levels, to provide relief while works to increase rail capacity are underway.

The Public Transport Council has also relaxed bus licensing rules since 2008 to encourage more parallel bus services to ply along mature rail lines, to provide commuters with more travel choices.

Different ways to spread commuter loading during the peak are being explored.

To encourage pre-peak travel in the morning, SMRT recently enhanced its discount scheme for commuters exiting before 7.45am at nine stations on the North-South, East-West Lines (NSEWL) within the city area.

The new MyTransport.SG online portal was also launched recently. Among other things, it allows train commuters to check loading levels at MRT stations for the peak periods. They can then make an informed travel decision.

LTA has worked pro-actively with the public transport operators to adjust train scheduling and frequencies to cater to changes in commuters' travel patterns.

More than 2,000 weekly train trips have been injected since 2008, with more than 800 weekly trips being injected this year alone.

Infrastructure projects have been brought forward where feasible. The Jurong East Modification Project, for example, was implemented in May, about a year ahead of its original timeline.

With the progressive arrival of 17 NSEWL trains, peak headways can be extended over longer time periods. For example, from Yishun to Marina Bay, trains will run at two-minute intervals for an hour, compared to 45 minutes now during weekday mornings.

Commuters can expect trains to come at more frequent intervals along other stretches of the NSEWL as well. More details on these improvements will be released soon.

We agree that more needs to be done to improve public transport. LTA has an aggressive rail capacity expansion plan. A new section will open every year for the next six years. More trains will be progressively added to enhance capacity of existing lines.

LTA will continue to work with operators to ensure the timely delivery of such enhancements and intensify measures to relieve peak period loadings.

Let's not just wait for new trains
TODAY, 23 Nov 2011
Letter from Jimmy Chan Yee Shun

IT IS not enough for the Minister of State (Transport) to state merely that there are "Not enough trains to run at two-minute intervals during peak hours" (Nov 22) and that 35 trains are being added within the next four years.

Since these trains will be added gradually over this period, the increasing ridership, due to both population increase and those switching from cars to trains, will continue to stress the system.

To manage the public's expectations, I hope the Transport Ministry can state more concretely how much the 45-minute period of two-minute intervals during peak periods could be increased to within the next six months, one year, etc.

On the issue of advance planning, since the public-listed transport operators are rightly concerned with their bottomlines, who decides when and how many trains are to be ordered? Could this be one of the constraints?

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