SINGAPORE - Woodlands residents will enjoy greater connectivity with the opening of the first three stations along the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) from Jan 31, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Wednesday (Dec 11).
All commuters will also have free travel between the Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South stations for three days, from Jan 31 to Feb 2.
Stations along the TEL have bigger yellow-coloured signage to help commuters find their way around. Exit directories listing all the major landmarks in the neighbourhood with their respective station exits can also be found in both the ticketed and non-ticketed areas of the station.
A locality map with the landmarks within walking radius in the vicinity - including Housing Board blocks, schools, hospitals and religious sites - also helps commuters to navigate their routes.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng, who was at a media preview of the new Woodlands South station on Wednesday, said: "We also want to encourage the elderly to use the trains. Therefore signage to bring them around and to navigate their way through the stations is very important."
He added the larger font sizes and clearer symbols will make wayfinding easier and more convenient for elderly commuters.
A new, more user-friendly map of the MRT system was also unveiled at the new Woodlands South station on Wednesday.
"When viewing the new map, the Circle Line will intuitively serve as a focal point to help commuters quickly orientate themselves and plan their journeys," LTA said.
The icons for the stations on the new map are placed as close to their relative geographical locations as possible, LTA added.
The revamped map also improves the readability of the station names, among other things. It will replace the ones at existing MRT stations from January next year, said LTA.
Mr Baey noted that "the sense of relativity to the different lines is much stronger" in the new map.
"The new map makes it easier for people to find their way," he said. "Because there is great interconnectivity among the different lines, knowing how to change from one line to the other and finding the way to the different destinations is important."
Prominent landmarks in the Bayfront area are highlighted on the map as well. These include the Merlion, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer. Icons of these landmarks are featured next to their closest stations.
Earlier in April this year, a redesigned map of the MRT system uploaded on Facebook by architect Cliff Tan got netizens' attention for its clean and rounded depiction of the MRT lines.
LTA had praised Mr Tan's effort and revealed then that its revamp of the MRT system map was in the pipeline.
LTA said it had consulted the rail network maps of other countries for reference when designing the new map, and had also spoken to Mr Tan during the process.
The TEL will open in stages from 2020 and will be fully operational by 2025.
As Singapore's sixth MRT line, it stretches over 43km and will add 32 new stations to the existing rail network. Seven interchange stations will link it to the five existing lines.
The TEL is expected to serve about 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, a figure expected to hit approximately one million in the long term.