Bukit Panjang transport hub opens after 2-year delay

The Bukit Panjang integrated transport hub features a new bus interchange to go with the existing Bukit Panjang LRT and MRT stations. The routes of 16 bus services - including nine stopping at the new interchange - were amended. Residents welcomed fe
The Bukit Panjang integrated transport hub features a new bus interchange to go with the existing Bukit Panjang LRT and MRT stations. The routes of 16 bus services - including nine stopping at the new interchange - were amended. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
The Bukit Panjang integrated transport hub features a new bus interchange to go with the existing Bukit Panjang LRT and MRT stations. The routes of 16 bus services - including nine stopping at the new interchange - were amended. Residents welcomed fe
Residents welcomed features such as the WeCare shop, which allows commuters to borrow items such as power banks and umbrellas for a period of three days.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The new Bukit Panjang integrated transport hub - with a new bus interchange to go with the existing Bukit Panjang LRT and MRT stations - opened yesterday, after a two-year delay.

Staff from SMRT - which operates the hub - were on hand to guide commuters around the 6,800 sq m facility.

The hub was scheduled to open in 2015 but faced a two-year delay because of construction difficulties encountered by the developer, Sim Lian Group. Connecting the hub to the MRT station, for instance, required a 13m-wide canal to be diverted.

It takes about three minutes to walk to the new transport hub from the Bukit Panjang MRT station on the Downtown Line via an underpass. The hub is also fully integrated with the Hillion Mall, which opened in February.

Residents welcomed features such as the WeCare shop, which allows commuters to borrow items such as power banks and umbrellas for a period of three days. One resident, Mr Shah Ismail, said the shop was a "great initiative".

However, he was less enthused about the interactive digital display panels, which commuters can use to get updates on bus timings and routes, as well as traffic information. "I am more likely to refer to the apps on my phone," said the 35-year-old artist.

Some felt there was still room for improvement. Ms Jasline Goh pointed out that some bus services had their routes changed with the opening of the hub, and this could confuse schoolchildren.

"I think it is still okay now as it is the school holidays, but there might be more confusion next week when school reopens," said the 39-year-old housewife.

"(The children) might need some time to get used to the new routes."

The routes for 16 bus services - including nine stopping at the new bus interchange - were amended with the opening of the hub.

Another commuter, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Cheong, wanted some practical tweaks to help commuters. She suggested that feeder services 920 and 922 could be placed at the same berth, just as they had been at the Bukit Panjang temporary bus park, which served the area while the hub was being constructed.

This would make it easier for Bukit Panjang residents, who often are able to take either bus depending on where they choose to drop off, said Mrs Cheong.

"Now we have to walk from one side to the other, depending on which bus comes first," said the 70-year-old retiree.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2017, with the headline 'Bukit Panjang transport hub opens after 2-year delay'. Print Edition | Subscribe