Trains and buses to run at pre-circuit breaker frequencies from June 2 amid safe distancing challenges

However, selected bus services serving mainly discretionary or recreational areas will continue to be suspended. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Commuters can expect regular train and bus services as the nation gears up to return to work from Tuesday (June 2), when circuit breaker measures are eased.

Train and bus intervals during all hours will return to pre-circuit breaker levels, and operate at the shortest "operationally feasible" intervals, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Monday in response to The Straits Times' questions.

Train operating hours will also return to normal.

However, selected bus services serving mainly discretionary or recreational areas will continue to be suspended, as LTA expects demand for such services to remain low.

"These include night bus services; Chinatown Direct Services; Service 926, which goes to the zoo; Service 401, which serves East Coast Park; and Services 188R and 963R, which serve Resorts World Sentosa," LTA said.

According to a notice in April put out by LTA, trains running on the North-South, East-West, North East, Circle and Downtown lines pre-circuit breaker had intervals of three minutes during peak periods and around five minutes during off-peak periods.

Commuters taking the Thomson-East Coast Line can expect train frequencies of around seven minutes during peak periods, and 12 minutes during off-peak periods, according to the same notice.

However, challenges will remain in ensuring safe distancing between commuters.

Due to low numbers, social distancing has so far been achievable between commuters, but the increasing numbers of public transport users mean it will be tougher to enforce safe distancing measures, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a Facebook post on Monday.

In an earlier Facebook post, Mr Khaw had said that with increasing ridership, authorities will boost the capacity of trains and buses to the maximum.

The green and orange social distancing stickers that were plastered over alternate seats in trains and buses will be removed as physical distancing will be difficult once the crowds return, Mr Khaw added.

Boarding queue markers at bus interchanges and seat markers on train platforms will also be removed, but where physical distancing is still possible, such as at bus stops and bus interchanges, seat markers will be retained.

Public transport operators will continue with their enhanced cleaning regimes and a new self-disinfecting anti-microbial coating will also be applied on high-contact points on buses and trains such as handrails, buttons, grab poles and seats.

These measures are similar to those taken for public transport in other major cities, LTA noted.

"We still urge Singaporeans to work from home and for those who need to leave home, to stagger their time and avoid traditional peak hours. Even then, there will be times when safe distancing will not be possible," Mr Khaw said, adding that it was important for all commuters to wear a mask all the time.

He also encouraged commuters to check in and out with the SafeEntry app at train stations and bus interchanges, avoid talking to one another or on phones on public transport, and observe good personal hygiene like frequently washing and sanitising hands.

"Do work with our Transport Ambassadors and public transport workers so that we can keep public transport safe for all," Mr Khaw added.

Aside from buses and trains, SafeEntry QR codes are also being progressively rolled out to all taxis in Singapore, and passengers should scan the code before their ride.

Passengers who book their rides via taxi apps or ride-hailing platforms like Grab or Gojek need not do the same as there is already other data available to help in contact tracing efforts if needed.

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