Employers encouraged to allow flexible work hours to take load off public transport

Employers are encouraged to allow staff to start their day in the morning at home to avoid the peak hour crowd.
Employers are encouraged to allow staff to start their day in the morning at home to avoid the peak hour crowd.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Flexible hours for those who need to be in the office should be considered as public transport passenger volume climbs with the easing of restrictions at workplaces.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung is encouraging employers to allow staff who are now working from home to start their day in the morning at home.

They can leave for the office after peak hours, to arrive at 10am and later.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Oct 6), Mr Ong said the number of people using public transport dropped drastically during the circuit breaker in April.

"Today, passenger volume is about 50 to 60 per cent compared to the pre-Covid 19 levels, for both peak and off-peak hours," he added.

However, he said there is no reason to be worried.

"The trains are much less crowded than before. And we can do our part by keeping our masks on, and avoid talking on public transport."

He noted that more employers will be responding to the Manpower Ministry's latest guidelines to have more workers return to the workplace.

Last month, the Government announced that more people will be allowed to return to the office from Sept 28.

Work-related events such as meetings, training sessions, townhalls, corporate retreats, tender briefings to vendors and business conferences, as well as onboarding or retrenchment exercises, can be conducted.

However, masks are still required, and social gatherings within and outside the office are not allowed, among other restrictions.


Mr Ong called on employers not to waste a "rare opportunity to change work and travel habits".

"Be flexible with time and place of work. After all, when we come into office, it is to meet people, sign documents, use certain equipment.

"And by travelling off peak, public transport can bring more people to and from work, yet not crowded," Mr Ong said.