Free pre-peak hour MRT rides: Few takers so far on first day

It seems that few commuters shifted their journeys earlier to enjoy free or discounted train rides that the Government is offering as part of its aim to reduce the morning peak hour crush.

Out of the 50 commuters polled by The Straits Times on Monday morning, only two said they woke up earlier just so they could get off trains before 7.45am to get a free ride.

Most said they were sticking with their normal travel patterns for now, while a handful said they would consider starting their city bound commute earlier in the coming days to take advantage of the free travel perk.

One of them is receptionist Judith Toh, who said she can expect to halve her monthly transport expenses.

Administrative assistant Elizabeth Anthony, 58, said she left her Sembawang home 15 minutes earlier.

"Usually I take a bus, but I think this is good savings which I can then donate to charity...I'll save about $1.70 a day. I hope I can continue this for as long as possible."

As part of a year-long trial that started on Monday, the Government will spend $10million to offer free and discounted train rides to ease early morning congestion in the city-bound MRTs.

Those who tap out at any of the city's 16 stations before 7.45am will get free rides. Those who get out between 7.45am and 8am will get a 50-cent discount.

The stations include Raffles place, Tanjong Pagar and Bugis.

It appeared to be crowded as usual at some of these stations as the crowds only built up during the 8am to 9am peak period.