Bus interchanges, terminal to be expanded

East Coast, Hougang Central, Punggol facilities near full capacity, says LTA

THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) is expanding two bus interchanges and a terminal which are approaching full capacity.

It called a tender yesterday to add more space for buses at Upper East Coast Bus Terminal and the interchanges at Hougang Central and Punggol.

The expansion will also make room for four to five new bus services to be introduced at each of these facilities.

At Punggol interchange, commuters can look forward to an expanded concourse, along with new boarding berths and toilets.

"The expansions are necessary to complement the bus operations and commuter needs at the existing bus interchanges and terminal, which are reaching full capacity," an LTA spokesman said.

The Government has put some 550 new buses on to the roads since rolling out its $1.1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme in 2012, with a further 450 buses to come by 2017.

Through the project, the current 0.6ha Upper East Coast Bus Terminal will increase in size by nearly 60 per cent, adding 15 new parking spaces to its current 27.

Over at the Hougang Central interchange, which serves 13,000 commuters with 16 bus services, a further 11 parking spaces will be added to the current 48.

This will be achieved through an expansion in space of 0.3ha from the current 1.3ha.

At Punggol interchange, which occupies an area of 1.2ha, a further 0.8 ha will be added to cater for 13 new bus spaces on top of the current 38.

Some 20,000 commuters use this interchange, which has 12 bus services at the moment.

Construction will start after the project is awarded in the third quarter of the year. LTA said the bus interchanges and terminal will remain operational.

In each of the three projects, the expansion area will be linked to the existing terminal via the driveway, and hence will not affect commuter movement, the LTA added.

Commuters said they hoped the bigger interchanges and terminals will lead to more frequent bus departures.

Ms Wendy Low, 32, a communications manager who takes service 74 from Hougang Central, said: "Frequency... can be improved. The waiting time can be as long as 15 minutes and the queue is also quite long."

adrianl@sph.com.sg