Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Commuters to get more space at 17 MRT stations

By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 20 Oct 2015

As early as 2018, commuters will have up to 15 per cent more space at 17 stations on the North-South and East-West MRT lines.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that station platforms will be expanded in a number of ways, including covering some existing voids - such as those around stairs and escalators - and reorganising station furniture.

Happy Monday folks! :) You can now look forward to a more pleasant commute with the creation of additional space at...
Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Sunday, October 18, 2015

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said: "Besides managing crowding at the platforms during peak hours, we are looking to enhance our older MRT stations by creating up to 15 per cent additional space at some of the stations to make public transport a more pleasant experience for all commuters.

"This is part of the overall rejuvenation of our rail network."

Platform voids at 11 stations will be covered over to create more standing space, while space at the other six stations will be freed up by repositioning seats. In addition, more seats will be provided for commuters waiting for trains.

Works are expected to start in the middle of next year, with the majority being carried out during non-service hours to minimise inconvenience to commuters.

The 17 stations to be upgraded are: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Boon Lay, Buona Vista, Choa Chu Kang, City Hall, Clementi, Eunos, Jurong East, Khatib, Lakeside, Raffles Place, Pasir Ris, Pioneer, Tampines, Tanjong Pagar and Yishun.

The LTA said it will continue to look at how other stations in the network can be improved.

Transport consultant Bruno Wildermuth said improving commuter experience at stations extends to having better access so that people can "get in and out easily".

He cited Bedok station, where commuters have to get down from the station and cross a road to get to the bus interchange.

Ms Joyce Wong, 37, who is in sales, said she is glad Jurong East station will be upgraded. Despite having been upgraded once in 2011, it is still very crowded, especially from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, she said.

Platform barriers at all LRT stations by 2018 to prevent falls
By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 21 Oct 2015

By 2018, all LRT stations will have glass and steel platform barriers in an effort to prevent people falling or getting onto the tracks.

However, unlike the barriers erected in overground MRT stations in 2012, the LRT structures will not have doors. Instead, they will have fixed openings with which trains will align their doors.

The Land Transport Authority has called for tenders for the project, which will involve installing the barriers at 42 LRT stations.

A spokesman said this was in response to rising passenger numbers. Last year, average daily LRT ridership stood at 137,000: almost three times what it was in 2004.

The LTA said the first barriers will be erected at the Bukit Panjang and Chua Chu Kang LRT stations, "in anticipation of higher commuter traffic with the opening of Downtown Line 2 at the end of this year".

This will be followed by the rest of the stations on the Bukit Panjang and Sengkang-Punggol LRT systems, with the work completed in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

"All works will be carried out during non-service hours to minimise inconvenience to commuters," said a spokesman.

Since 2010, there have been on average three LRT track intrusions per year.

The new barriers will not be totally secure as the tracks are still accessible via the fixed openings.

The LTA explained that, since LRT platforms are significantly smaller than MRT platforms, "the operation of platform screen doors will require power, communications and signal control rooms, which will take up a substantial amount of passengers' waiting space".

Commuter C.G. Ang, 57, said not having doors is "a half-baked solution". "In some cases, it may be even more dangerous," he said. "For instance, if someone falls onto the tracks through the opening, rescue efforts might be impeded by the barriers."

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng said the move "will enhance safety to a certain extent", but found it "a bit strange" that doors will not be included.

Screen doors were erected on all 36 overground MRT stations three years ago but commuters have complained that they can take a longer time to open, and may not be aligned properly with trains.

Platform barriers and screen doors are relatively rare in metro systems around the world though new systems tend to have them.

In Japan, where track intrusions are not uncommon, some cities have begun erecting barriers.

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