We refer to the letter 'Let's not just wait for new trains' (TODAY, 23 Nov). We would like to assure Mr Chan that apart from adding trains to the existing rail system, LTA is working with the public transport operators on a comprehensive range of measures to bring relief to commuters particularly during peak hours.
The ongoing bus service level review is one such example. Recognising that rail infrastructure and procurement have longer lead times, LTA is conducting a comprehensive review to improve current bus service levels to provide additional relief while works to increase rail capacity are underway. PTC 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 also being explored. To encourage pre-peak travel in the morning, SMRT recently enhanced its morning pre-peak discount scheme for commuters exiting from the 9 designated NSEWL stations within the city area before 7.45am. The new MyTransport.SG online portal was also launched recently. Among other things, it allows train commuters to check the loading levels at MRT stations for the peak periods. They can then make an informed travel decision.
LTA has also worked proactively 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 in 2011 alone. Infrastructure projects have also been brought forward where feasible. The Jurong East Modification Project (JEMP), for example, was implemented in May 2011, about a year ahead of its original completion timeline.
With the progressive arrival of 17 additional NSEWL trains, peak headways can be extended over longer time periods For example, the stretch from Yishun to Marina Bay will see trains running at 2-minute intervals over a one-hour period, compared to 45 minutes today during weekday mornings. Commuters can also expect trains to come at more frequent intervals along the various other stretches of the NSEWL. 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. The next six years will see a new section of rail opening every year. More trains will also be progressively added to enhance the capacity of the existing lines. LTA will continue to work with operators to ensure the timely delivery of rail capacity enhancements, as well as intensify measures to relief peak period loadings.
Helen Lim (Ms)
Acting Director, Media Relations
Land Transport Authority