Downtown Line 1 has average weekday ridership of 58,000

People walk out of the train at Chinatown station along the new Downtown Line 1 on Dec 7, 2013 during a trial run. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
People walk out of the train at Chinatown station along the new Downtown Line 1 on Dec 7, 2013 during a trial run. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The six-station Downtown Line stage 1 had an average daily ridership of 58,000 on weekdays from January to April this year.

About 40 per cent of the passengers travelled during peak hours, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in Parliament on Thursday.

He was responding to a question posed by Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Gan Thiam Poh, who also asked how much the Downtown Line has helped ease the load on the North East and Circle Lines.

Mr Lui noted that the 4.3km Downtown Line 1 is primarily intended to provide connectivity within as well as into and out of the city area, rather than to alleviate loading on the North East Line and Circle Line.

"The full DTL, on the other hand, when completed in 2017, will help relieve some of the loading on the North-South and East-West Lines as well as some of the crowded interchange stations in the city," Mr Lui said.

He added that commuters can expect some relief from peak hour congestion on the North East and Circle Lines from 2015, when 42 new trains are progessively added to increase capacity.

The Downtown Line 1 was expected to have an average daily ridership of 75,000. The second stage from Bukit Panjang to Bugis will open in 2016, and the third stage from Expo to Chinatown in 2017. When completed, the line is expected to see 500,000 rides a day on average.