SINGAPORE - Commuters in Woodlands can look forward to a smoother and more comfortable journey with the opening of the Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub (ITH) on Sunday (June 13).
The ITH - a term for fully air-conditioned bus interchanges linked to MRT stations and nearby shopping malls - connects a new bus interchange below Causeway Point shopping mall with Woodlands MRT station, which serves the North-South Line and Thomson-East Coast Line.
The bus interchange replaces the open-air Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange, which had been in operation since 2016.
Housewife Cheryl Sim, 42, said she appreciates the greater comfort from better shelter and air-conditioning.
"I sweat a lot when using the temporary interchange. When it rains, I sometimes get wet. This new interchange is much more comfortable," she said.
Secondary school student Stephen Neo,16, said the new interchange has a livelier and more modern atmosphere.
"I'm pretty excited about the new interchange as it has air-conditioning and good lighting, so it feels more comfortable and vibrant. The old bus interchange was rather hot and dark," he said.
While 25 of the 29 of the bus services operating in the temporary interchange have moved to the ITH, four bus services - 925/925M, 950, 961/961M and 965 - will continue to run in the temporary interchange, which is beside the ITH.
To help passengers in wheelchairs and parents with strollers, the new bus interchange has barrier-free boarding and alighting areas as well as graduated kerb edges, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in May.
To enhance safety, the bus interchange is also equipped with a reverse warning system with blinking lights to alert bus captains when other buses are reversing within a parking area.
The LTA added that besides commuter facilities, the ITH also comes with upgraded amenities for transport workers, such as an air-conditioned staff canteen, dedicated staff toilets, a cleaners' room and a staff lounge.
Mr Melvin Yong, MP for Radin Mas and executive secretary of the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU), said in a Facebook post on Sunday that while the canteen is open to only on-duty public transport workers to dine in for now, it can accommodate up to 30 patrons when Covid-19 safe management measures are eased.
Operated by SMRT, Woodlands ITH is the 11th such hub in Singapore. At41,500 sq m, it is also the largest so far. The other 10 ITHs are in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay, Clementi, Joo Koon, Sengkang, Serangoon, Toa Payoh, Bukit Panjang and Yishun.