Commuters’ Travel Patterns Shift After Opening of Downtown Line 2

News Releases 27 Jul 2016 bus services Downtown Line (DTL) travel patterns rail ridership

    The opening of Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) has changed the travel patterns of residents along the northwestern corridor.  The average daily weekday ridership of the Downtown Line (DTL) has increased by three times, from 83,000 in October 2015 to more than 250,000 in mid-July 2016.

2.  The average number of journeys on public transport (comprising DTL2 and buses), on weekdays, to or from towns along the DTL corridor has increased sharply by about 60 per cent compared to the number of journeys before DTL2 was opened. It is likely that more commuters have shifted from driving to taking the DTL.

3.  In addition to residents along the DTL corridor, more commuters on the North-South Line (e.g. Woodlands, Yishun) and North East Line (e.g. Sengkang, Punggol, Hougang) are also transferring to the DTL to connect to the city.

Before DTL2 Opening
(Minimal usage of DTL1 by commuters to get to downtown area)
Before DTL2 Travel Patterns



After DTL2 Opening
(Exponential growth of DTL usage especially by commuters along DTL2 corridor to get to downtown area)
After DTL2 Travel Patterns


Chart 1: Following the opening of DTL2, more commuters use the DTL to connect to the downtown area. This includes residents along the DTL2 corridor as well as commuters from areas along the North-South Line (Woodlands, Yishun) and North East Line (Sengkang, Punggol, Hougang).

Time Savings

4.  Commuters using DTL have also benefited from substantial travel time savings. After the opening of the DTL2, close to 65 per cent of public transport commuters travelling via DTL enjoyed time savings of up to 10 minutes, while another 15 per cent benefitted from time savings of more than 10 minutes[1]. For example, a commuter living in Bukit Panjang can now save over five hours a week:


Stays in Bukit Panjang


Before DTL

Travelling via DTL

Works near Downtown station

60 minutes

35 minutes

Saves 25 minutes per trip; 50 minutes for a round trip, five times a week

Goes to the gym near Newton MRT station

45 minutes

30 minutes

Saves 15 minutes per trip; 30 minutes for a round trip

Goes for breakfast near Beauty World station on weekends

20 minutes

10 minutes

Saves 10 minutes per trip; 20 minutes for a round trip

Goes to Botanic Gardens for a weekly jog

25 minutes

15 minutes

Saves 10 minutes per trip; 20 minutes for a round trip

Total Time Savings:

Over five hours a week

5.  As more commuters are attracted to the DTL, commuters on other rail lines also enjoy more comfortable rides. For example, the number of commuters travelling on the North-South Line along Bukit Batok–Jurong East, and on the East-West Line along Jurong East–Clementi, has decreased up to 10 per cent during the morning peak hours.

Improvement in Bus Services

6.  More commuters living along the DTL corridor have also switched from buses to trains for their daily commute, resulting in ridership reduction for routes along DTL2.  Consequently, speeds of bus services plying along the DTL corridor have improved by up to 6 per cent during peak periods. This could be due to fewer boarding and alighting passengers, and hence shorter dwell time at bus stops. On the other hand, feeder bus services that bring commuters to DTL stations, such as Services 920 and 922 in Bukit Panjang, have seen an increase in ridership.  In tandem with the opening, we have also introduced new or extended bus services, such as Services 979 and 983, to connect commuters to the DTL.

7.  To encourage more commuters to use DTL, LTA is improving the first and last mile connectivity along the corridor. Stations on DTL2 and the upcoming Downtown Line Stage 3 (DTL3) will be served by 29km of sheltered walkways. This enables everyone, including students, seniors and persons with disabilities to get to nearby schools, healthcare facilities and public amenities comfortably, conveniently and safely. For instance, a sheltered linkway connecting the bus stop along Jalan Jurong Kechil to Beauty World Station is expected to be completed by 3Q2016.

8.  For more information on DTL travel patterns, please visit:


[1] This is across the whole day, and includes the AM and PM peak hours as well as non-peak hours.

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