Grace period to swop platforms at Stevens station

The two platforms at Stevens station have separate sets of fare gates, owing to site considerations.
The two platforms at Stevens station have separate sets of fare gates, owing to site considerations.PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

No minimum fare if commuters exit and enter right fare gate within 10 minutes

Commuters will be given a grace period of 10 minutes if they enter the wrong platform at the Downtown Line 2's Stevens station.

This grace period, starting from tomorrow when paid fares start, will give them sufficient time to exit the fare gantries and tap in at the correct platform without being charged the minimum fare.

Under the distance-based fare rules, tapping in and out of any station - even without any travel - will incur a minimum fare.

This amounts to 83 cents for underground stations and 78 cents for above-ground ones.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) made this announcement yesterday following a number of complaints from commuters last week, when the station's design was announced.

Some commuters had said it was "ridiculous" that they were being penalised for the "bad" design of the station, and that there should be an automatic refund, despite LTA saying commuters may approach the passenger service counter if they are on the wrong platform.

At Stevens station, the two platforms - one in the direction of Bukit Panjang and the other towards Chinatown - have separate sets of fare gates.

Once past the fare gates of either platform, commuters will not be able to make their way to the other one as there is no link between the two.

In all the other stations, commuters tap in at fare gates on the concourse level before going to the platforms.

The LTA explained that the station's construction was a challenging one because of site constraints.

Stevens station, located near the Wayang Satu Flyover and Bukit Timah Canal, is the smallest station on the Downtown Line.

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said: "The flyover and canal posed exceptional challenges to building a station. To enable a station to be constructed at all within the site constraints, our engineers built what we call a 'stacked station'.

"Without this solution, it would be near impossible to provide a service to the residential, student and commercial population in this area."

As the rail network grows increasingly dense, more stations may be located within tight corridors, the LTA said yesterday.

"LTA will continue to seek innovative ways of designing and building stations to make commuting as convenient and user-friendly as possible," it added.

Commuter Tan Kok Tim, a retiree in his 60s, said: "A grace period is a short-term solution. The station should be redesigned to be seamless, friendly and easy to use."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2016, with the headline 'Grace period to swop platforms at Stevens station'. Print Edition | Subscribe