Two-car trains set to ease peak-hour load on Punggol LRT

Commuters at the Punggol LRT station during the morning rush hour yesterday. The two-car trains introduced on the east loop of the LRT line yesterday will operate during the morning and evening peak periods.
Commuters at the Punggol LRT station during the morning rush hour yesterday. The two-car trains introduced on the east loop of the LRT line yesterday will operate during the morning and evening peak periods.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Two-car trains made their debut on the Punggol LRT Line yesterday, a move that should help commuters during peak-hour travel.

The two-car trains, with each car carrying 102 passengers, began operating on the east loop of the LRT line yesterday and will run in both directions of the loop between 6.45am and 8.45am, and from 6.15pm to 8.15pm.

Dual-carriage trains have been in use on the Bukit Panjang LRT since it began operations in 1999, and were introduced on the Sengkang LRT in January. They will be introduced on the west loop of the Punggol LRT at a later date.

Commuters welcomed the addition of the second car.

"The trains are too crowded during peak hours," said Ms Xue Ting, 26, who works in a construction company based near the Meridian station on the east loop.

 

Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng said residents would welcome the trains' added capacity when schools reopen and in the coming months.

"We are working together as a community to see how, with a growing town, we can ease traffic even better for residents - whether you are a car user, train user or bus user," added Mr Ng, who is also Minister for Education (Schools) and an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

He was speaking at the opening of the Punggol Point LRT station yesterday, the fifth station to open on the west loop of the Punggol line.

Located near the Ponggol Seventeenth Avenue residential estate and upcoming Housing Board developments, the Punggol Point station is a short walk from eateries at The Punggol Settlement, as well as the Coney Island nature park.

Two stations on the west loop of the Punggol line have yet to be opened. The Samudera station will open in March, while the Teck Lee station will open "in tandem with developments in the area", said SBS Transit and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a joint statement.

Rail reliability remains a concern. The Sengkang-Punggol LRT lines, which have an average daily ridership of about 119,000, had eight service delays of more than 30 minutes in the first three quarters of this year. This is up from five for the whole of last year.

In comparison, the problematic Bukit Panjang LRT line had seven such delays during the same period.

An LTA spokesman said it has been working hard with SBS Transit to enhance the reliability of the system.

Measures taken include changing train doors and converting the siding of the LRT to automatic operation for "faster recovery and improved operational efficiency".

"SBS Transit has also carried out improvement works to the guide rails to provide a smoother ride for commuters," she said, adding that facilities at the Sengkang depot are being expanded to enhance the maintenance regime.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2016, with the headline 'Two-car trains set to ease peak-hour load on Punggol LRT'. Print Edition | Subscribe