More positive views of public transport: Reach

A train at Ang Mo Kio MRT station and a bus at traffic junction in Ang Mo Kio.
A train at Ang Mo Kio MRT station and a bus at traffic junction in Ang Mo Kio. PHOTO: ST FILE

More commuters are giving Singapore's public transport system the thumbs up.

Research released yesterday by government feedback unit Reach shows that commuters' perceptions towards the quality and affordability of the public transport system have improved since the last poll by Reach in January last year.

In a telephone poll with 1,200 Singapore residents aged 15 and older, 80 per cent of respondents agreed that Singapore has a good public transport system, up from 74 per cent last year.

About 66 per cent agreed that it is generally affordable, up from 63 per cent last year.

Half of the respondents were also supportive of moving towards lower car ownership in Singapore.

The poll was conducted from Feb 29 to March 4, and respondents were randomly selected.

These findings come as the Government pumped in billions to expand the bus fleet, and ramped up a renewal plan for the North-South and East-West MRT lines, which are nearly 30 years old.

Some 760 new buses were put on the roads at the end of last year and another 240 are to come by next year as part of the Bus Service Enhancement Programme which was launched in 2012 to meet the needs of the growing population.

Twelve new trains were added to the Circle Line at the end of last year to grow the fleet to 52. Four were added to the North-East Line's fleet of 25.

The poll by Reach also showed that about six in 10 respondents were confident that the reliability of train services will improve.

Currently, services at some stations on the East-West Line end up to half an hour earlier so that engineering work can be carried out, such as sleeper replacement. SMRT intends to complete the work by next year.

About 1.26 million people took public transport to work last year, according to the latest General Household Survey released on March 9.

One of them is hairdresser Lawrence Yeo, who takes the train to his workplace near City Hall station six days a week. The 55-year-old Pasir Ris resident, who is a father of two, has never owned a car.

Mr Yeo said: "Public transport is getting more convenient, especially the shorter waiting time between trains. I don't have to wait very long for one - only around two minutes.

"It's presently still crowded, but bearable. If I can't get on the train, I can afford to wait a few minutes for the next one."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2016, with the headline 'More positive views of public transport: Reach'. Print Edition | Subscribe