Commuters switch to buses at Joo Koon station

People walking towards the bus stop at Joo Koon station yesterday morning to continue their journey. Most commuters said they were able to switch to buses without a hitch.
People walking towards the bus stop at Joo Koon station yesterday morning to continue their journey. Most commuters said they were able to switch to buses without a hitch.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Joo Koon MRT station was more packed than usual during rush hour yesterday, as train service between Joo Koon and Tuas Link stations had been suspended and commuters had to disembark to continue their journey on buses.

This situation is expected to continue today, another working day, after SMRT said last night that train service between the stations will resume only on Monday.

The suspension came after a software glitch in the new signalling system of the East-West Line resulted in a collision between two trains at Joo Koon station on Wednesday.

There are three stations between Joo Koon and Tuas Link. Bus bridging services were provided throughout the day for passengers travelling to the affected stations, and SMRT staff were present to help.

Most commuters said they were able to switch to buses without a hitch. The place is "definitely more packed than usual, but to be honest, it was worse yesterday morning", said engineer Wang Hai, 38, who was in the train that hit the stationary one on Wednesday.

He usually takes the train to Tuas West Road station. From there, he takes the company shuttle bus to his office in Tuas Link, but on Wednesday, he had to alight at Joo Koon station as services were suspended so the authorities could carry out investigations into the accident.

"The company has arranged for us to be picked up from this station instead, so it is not too big an inconvenience," said Mr Wang.

He added: "It is frustrating and embarrassing that this happened to the public transport system, but there is no point in being angry."

A 27-year-old sales engineer, who wanted to be known only as Mr Goh, said he was late for work as he received notifications about the suspended service only just before leaving the house at 6.45am.

"Now, I have to get a cab to work. I usually alight at Gul Circle, which is one stop after Joo Koon," he said.

"I know it takes time (to sort out the bugs in the system), but SMRT better step up their game."

Miss Dorothy Tan, 23, an intern at a chemical distribution company, was on her way to take the free bridging service to Tuas Link. She found out about the suspended service from the announcement made at Outram MRT station, where she started her journey yesterday morning.

"I don't think there was any confusion. The instructions were clear... Bridging services and train breakdowns have become so normal," she said. "But the train collision is definitely something new."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2017, with the headline 'Commuters switch to buses at Joo Koon station'. Print Edition | Subscribe