Map created by duo to help commuters tackle December's shorter MRT operating hours

Two volunteers have put together a bus route map to help commuters through December's shorter train operating hours on segments of the MRT network. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/TATA SMRT

SINGAPORE - In a ground-up initiative, two volunteers have jointly created a bus route map to help commuters through December's shorter train operating hours on segments of the MRT network.

The map, which shows commuters the bus services they can take from affected stations to get around, has been featured by other news websites and radio stations, and also given the thumbs-up by netizens.

It was put together by Mr Paul Lee, 38, a senior tax consultant, and a friend, Mr Yong Jian Rong, during their spare time.

Mr Lee told The Straits Times they were also given inputs on bus routes from members of the Facebook group TATA SMRT (The Alternate Transport Advisory & Spore Magnificent Rescue Team), a community page which crowd-sources information on train disruptions and alternative transport arrangements. Mr Lee is the chief administrator of TATA SMRT.

The first version of the map was uploaded on Wednesday (Nov 22), a day after the authorities announced that 17 East-West Line and two North-South Line stations will have shorter service hours on weekends from Dec 8 to 31, and that these stations will remain closed for the whole day on Dec 10 and Dec 17.

This is to step up the upgrading of the East-West Line's signalling system, so the project can be finished faster by June 2018, instead of December 2018 as originally intended.

While parallel shuttle buses will be provided along the MRT stations in question during the affected hours, Mr Lee said it would help if commuters knew of the alternatives as well.

He estimates that a full train carries about 1,400 passengers, but a double-decker bus can only take about 120, just 10 per cent of the load.

While some have asked Mr Lee why he spent time creating the map, since he was not employed by SMRT or the Land Transport Authority (LTA) , hesaid: "I think its a form of volunteer service which I thought will be helpful to the public."

When asked, the LTA said it was aware of the map.

"We welcome these ground-up initiatives to keep fellow commuters informed of alternative travel routes," said an LTA spokesman.

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