Easing the train crush :First parallel bus service to run from Monday, but commuters say trains may still be faster
Tuesday • July 1, 2008
Leong Wee Keat
COMMUTERS living in the north will have another travel option heading to work or home starting Monday, even as Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) changes kick in.
Service 128, a new basic bus service :operated by SBS Transit, will ply between Ang Mo Kio Depot and Shenton Way Terminal — the first bus allowed to run alongside sections of mature rail lines with heavy passenger loading, and where there is limited scope to quickly expand rail capacity during peak periods.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had previously not allowed this, as it was deemed a wasteful duplication of resources.
This new service will cover 13 MRT stations along the North-South and East-West lines and will stop at selected bus stops between stations en route.
SBS Transit spokeswoman Tammy Tan said each trip is expected to take about 74 minutes from end to end, barring poor traffic conditions.
Commuters that Today spoke to welcomed the option, but some voiced concerns over reliability and speed.
Bank administrative officer Chua Kim Choo noted that her premium bus often got caught in slow traffic as it travelled from Yishun to the city. She wondered if it would be the same for the new service.
A check of the route found that a stretch of Bishan Road, for example, was not covered under the bus lane scheme. However, as Service 128 reaches Thomson Road and beyond, it should be accorded priority, as those roads are mostly covered under the scheme.
Some commuters also suggested extending the service to areas in Yishun, while introducing new ones along the East-West Line, such as from Bedok to the city.
But lawyer Tan Hee Joek said he would stick to the trains, even if it meant not being able to get into one initially, or squeezing with others during the morning crush.
“Even if I miss one or two trains due to overcrowding, I am still guaranteed a faster ride to the office,” he said.
The LTA said “more such services would be implemented along other heavily-loaded sections of mature rail lines in future, if conditions required it”.
The introduction of Service 128, along with the 76 premium buses in operation, provides commuters with more choices, including motorists switching to public transport.
From Monday, motorists will also generally pay more at 32 gantries in the Central Business District cordon at various times of the day.
While noting recent public transport improvements, motorist Murray Lim said he is not ready to give up his car yet. “I’m in sales and I often need to run around with my goods, which can be quite heavy,” he said.
This rather a ridiculous method of “expand rail capacity during peak hour”.
I guess this is what they want you to believe.
Isn’t it easier to “ease train capacity” just by increasing the frequency of the trains?
I sense that the real purpose is to reduce the number of cars on CTE during peak hour and for God’s sake can’t they just be honest about it?
And as what LTA said, “..provides commuters with more choices, including motorists switching to public transport. “ Which in turn makes the train and buses more crowded.
This is not a very good solution to “expand rail capacity.”
The Elite drive and the peasent take take crowded public transports.