LTA taps auto fare gates as way to go

It is replacing all turnstile gates - used only on Bt Panjang LRT - for more efficient commute

Turnstile fare gates - used only on the Bukit Panjang LRT line - will make way for automatic retractable ones.
Turnstile fare gates - used only on the Bukit Panjang LRT line - will make way for automatic retractable ones.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Turnstile fare gates will no longer be used on Singapore's mass rapid rail network.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) plans to replace all the turnstile gates - which are used only on the Bukit Panjang LRT line - with automatic retractable ones.

This is in "anticipation of (the) higher passenger load" with the opening of Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) on Dec 27, a spokesman told The Straits Times.

About 55,000 people a day use the Bukit Panjang LRT system, but this is expected to rise when commuters are able to change lines at the Bukit Panjang Station to the DTL2, which will take them directly to the city.

Commuters must tap their cards on a reader and then push the turnstile to pass through, a less efficient system than the automatic fare gantries. The spokesman added: "With the new retractable fare gates, commuters will enjoy a more consistent user experience across the different MRT/LRT lines."

The new gates will have bigger screen displays, and indicators will tell off-peak pass holders when they can travel for free.

The LTA called a tender last month to replace all 90 turnstile gates across the 14 stations of the Bukit Panjang LRT.

Some automatic fare gates on the North-South, East-West and North-East MRT lines, as well as on the Sengkang and Punggol LRT lines are in need of being modernised or replaced.

Development and testing of the new fare gates is expected to start from the second quarter of next year, before the system is launched progressively from the third quarter of 2017. The project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2018.

Separately, the LTA said it will install high-volume, low-speed ceiling fans at 41 stations along the Bukit Panjang and Sengkang-Punggol LRT systems. A tender will be called this month, with installation expected to start next year and be completed by 2018.

LRT commuters welcomed the station upgrades, with many saying the automatic fare gates are more user-friendly.

Mr Mohamed Johar, 35, a bank vice-president, said: "The number of commuters passing through the LRT stations will multiply with the new DTL2. The upgrades will make train journeys hassle-free."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2015, with the headline 'LTA taps auto fare gates as way to go'. Subscribe