LTA off-peak programme halves travel time for some

Mr Tan Shu Jie still takes the same route to work via a bus and the MRT, but now reaches his office in about half the time that he used to take.

For the past three months, Mr Tan, 26, a management consultant, has been setting out earlier from his Bishan home to reach his Raffles Place office by 7.30am. This means a shorter commute of 30 minutes.

"When I get to the office earlier, I can plan ahead and make my day more productive," said Mr Tan, who now goes home half an hour earlier.

His company is taking part in the Land Transport Authority's Travel Smart Network programme, aimed at easing the public transport crush during the morning peak from 8am to 9am. Firms can get a grant of up to $160,000 annually from LTA for three years, to co-fund the costs of flexi-work arrangements.

Ninety companies, with 190,000 employees in all, have signed up since the scheme's launch in 2014.

Yesterday, a food truck was stationed in Raffles Place to promote the programme. LTA plans to do more to expand the scheme, said LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong.

The Travel Smart Network is part of LTA's broader plan to ease the morning rush-hour public transport load, along with initiatives like free pre-peak travel and the recently announced off-peak pass.

Commuters can also get perks, such as cash rewards, from LTA by accumulating bonus points for off-peak trips.

At law firm Rajah & Tann, about 10 per cent of its 600 staff turn up for work before 8am. They are offered free breakfast.

Accounting firm EY also gives free breakfast to the first 100 staff who get in before 8am. Mr Max Loh, EY's managing partner for Asean and Singapore, said about a quarter of the staff who take the train have signed up. "This fits in with our flexible work arrangement scheme," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'LTA off-peak programme halves travel time for some'. Print Edition | Subscribe