Improve bus bridging services

Regarding the recent MRT disruption between the Kranji and Admiralty stations ("Power fault halts train services"; Jan 10), the free shuttle bus services were activated quickly - partly due to the proximity of the Kranji Bus Depot to Kranji MRT Station.

While I applaud the swiftness of the shuttle bus deployment, many of the shuttle bus drivers did not know the proper MRT bus bridging route between Kranji and Sembawang stations, which led to busloads of passengers going around in circles within housing estates.

Bus drivers should be trained in the shuttle route around the MRT stations that their main service route plies.

For example, a service 969 (Woodlands to Tampines) bus driver should be trained in bus bridging for the Pasir Ris to Bedok stations, in the event of an MRT disruption.

The lack of MRT shuttle route training for bus captains was clear in this recent disruption, with bus captains instructed by SMRT staff to simply "follow the bus in front", which led to buses getting lost when the convoy got split at a traffic light.

While the proper bus bridging boarding point for Sembawang was at the bus interchange, most bridging buses ended up at the bus stop outside Sembawang MRT.

There were instances of miscommunication among SMRT staff, one example being seen at the Woodlands Bus Interchange, where SMRT staff said the bridging route went all the way to Yishun when the official statement by SMRT and the Land Transport Authority stated that the shuttle route ended at Sembawang.

This led to much confusion among the staff and left stranded commuters angry that the bus did not go to Yishun as promised.

The signs for the shuttle bus boarding points for commuters were also unclear, stating only that the bridging service could be boarded at the bus interchange, instead of specifying which berth.

To alleviate such confusion in the future, more contingency exercises could be conducted in separate stages along the entire rail network that SMRT manages.

Alvin Teng