Shorter waits on two MRT lines soon

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew (centre) with LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong (left) and deputy chief executive for infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng riding one of the new trains on the Circle Line yesterday.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew (centre) with LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong (left) and deputy chief executive for infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng riding one of the new trains on the Circle Line yesterday.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

More trains for Circle and North East lines will boost capacity, ease congestion: Minister

Commuters travelling on the Circle and North East lines will soon have shorter waiting times.

Seven new trains have been put into service on the Circle Line since June 24, and a further three to five will be deployed by the end of this year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a media statement yesterday.

It is part of a plan to roll out 24 new trains on the Circle Line by the middle of next year, boosting capacity by 60 per cent, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told the media yesterday, after taking a ride on one of the new trains.

There are 47 trains on the Circle Line - including the seven new ones. At the moment, commuters wait an average of 3.5 minutes during peak hours for a ride. This will be cut to 2.7 minutes. During off-peak periods, commuters will have to wait only five minutes, down from an average of seven minutes.

The new trains have "commuter-centric" features such as additional straphangers and gap fillers to reduce the gap between the platform and trains, said the LTA.

Mr Lui noted that the seven new trains were tested rigorously before being put into service. They were first introduced during off-peak hours, before being put into service during peak periods.

Meanwhile, starting this month, a new train will be added to the North East Line every month for the next 11/2 years, boosting capacity by 70 per cent.

"Overall, this is part of a plan to introduce 99 trains over the course of the next three or so years, and that will boost the overall fleet by about 50 per cent," said Mr Lui.

"That's how we are adding capacity to ease the level of congestion on the existing lines," he added.

Bank analyst Joyce Lim, 27, who takes the North East Line from Serangoon to Chinatown daily, said that currently "people can be sandwiched to the doors" during the rush-hour crush.

"Commuters like me appreciate that there are more trains, but if trains can run smoothly without disruptions, that's better," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2015, with the headline 'Shorter waits on two MRT lines soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe