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Shuttle bus services along MRT stations affected by engineering work to follow train fare structure: SMRT
Shuttle bus services will be provided along affected MRT stations when they are closed. TODAY file photo
November 28th, 2017 | 10:57 AM | 952 views
Next month, shuttle bus services — following the same fare structure as trains — will be provided along the 19 MRT stations affected by additional engineering hours, operator SMRT said on Monday (Nov 27).
The loop services will ply four routes: Between Outram Park and Jurong East, Jurong East and Joo Koon, Joo Koon and Tuas Link, as well as Jurong East and Choa Chu Kang. These buses will arrive at frequencies of three to five minutes during peak hours, and five to 10 minutes during off-peak.
SMRT said its staff will be deployed at bus stops to assist and guide commuters.
Last week, SMRT and the Land Transport Authority announced that from Dec 8 to 31, 17 stations along the East-West Line, from Tiong Bahru to Tuas Link, as well as the Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak stations on the North-South Line, will close earlier on Fridays and Saturdays at 11pm and open later on Saturdays and Sundays at 8am. To allow for extended engineering work, these stations will be fully closed on two Sundays, Dec 10 and 17. This will help speed up the process to put in place the new signalling system on the line.
The move came after a software glitch in the East-West Line signalling system caused two trains to collide at Joo Koon MRT station on Nov 15, injuring 38 people.
Under distance-based fares which were introduced in 2010, commuters are charged based on the total distance travelled between their origin and destination, regardless of the number of transfers made between buses or buses and trains.
From Dec 30 last year, fares were further harmonised, with commuters paying the same amount for train lines underground and above-ground.
Noting the standardisation of fares across buses and trains, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) economist Walter Theseira said it was a "non-issue" for the shuttle bus services to follow the trains' fare structure.
Nevertheless, National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng said the authorities should consider offering a discount to commuters. But any discount could be ultimately borne by taxpayers, SUSS urban transport expert Park Byung Joon pointed out. "Somebody has to pay. If commuters do not pick up the bill, then the taxpayers pick up the bill," he said.
The revised engineering schedule would accelerate re-signalling works on the East-West Line “so that train services on the entire line, including Tuas West Extension, can run seamlessly” on the new signalling system, SMRT and LTA had said.
On Monday, SMRT Trains chief executive officer Lee Ling Wee said that previous rounds of early closure or late opening of MRT service “have seen engineering teams gain valuable time to work on tracks and trackside infrastructure”.
He added that the renewed parts of the train network “have served commuters well”. He said SMRT’s engineering teams will make full use of the additional time to perform train and signalling tests, and planned maintenance and renewal works on tracks, in MRT stations and in train depots.
Information on the closure will be available on SMRT’s website, Facebook page and Twitter, as well as in stations and trains.
courtesy of TODAY
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