Full East-West Line to run shorter hours

MRT services cut short over a month, mostly on weekends, to enable rail engineering work

All 35 stations on the East-West Line (EWL) closed about an hour earlier at 11pm yesterday to facilitate rail engineering work.

Affected train commuters turned to shuttle bus services, which ran parallel to stretches of the EWL to get home.

When The Straits Times visited Outram Park MRT station yesterday at about 10.30pm, barricades were being set up for crowd control at the shuttle bus bay.

Administrative executive Fiona Leong, 30, was one of the commuters rushing to catch the last train on the line. She had been visiting her fiance at the Singapore General Hospital and was on her way home to Tampines.

"I found out about the early closure from a sign while topping up my ez-link card this morning. But if I can't catch the last train, I will walk to Chinatown station to take the Downtown Line instead," she said.

At 11.10pm, about 30 commuters were seen lining up for the SMRT shuttle bus to Buona Vista with stops at Tiong Bahru, Queenstown and Commonwealth.

The cost for the shuttle bus follows the same fare structure as the trains.

One commuter in the queue was accountant Kayra Chen, 33, who was headed to Commonwealth MRT station. She came from Dhoby Ghaut station to switch to the EWL at Outram Park when she found out about the closure.

"It's a bit inconvenient but still okay," she said. "The transport (had) better improve after all these closures though."

Last night's early closure of the EWL is the first in a series of shortened MRT operating hours during weekends this month.

Since December, stretches of the EWL have been closing earlier and opening later to cater for more time for engineering works and the testing of a new signalling system for the EWL.

Today, stations will open later at 8am and also close at 11pm. And tomorrow, stations will similarly open at 8am. A similar schedule will be repeated every weekend this month until April 1.

On March 12 and 14, during the March school holidays, the EWL stations will also close earlier at 10.30pm.

Trains usually run from 5.30am to about midnight daily.

To provide commuters with alternative transport, six shuttle bus services will be provided, stopping at designated pick-up and drop-off points near MRT stations along the way.

Four express bus services will also be deployed to complement the shuttle services. Two of them will provide commuters with direct connections to the city area, while the other two will connect commuters from the East-West Line to the Downtown Line.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'Full East-West Line to run shorter hours'. Print Edition | Subscribe