MRT commuters in Tuas area find other ways to get to work

Commuters utilising the free bridging bus service at Joo Koon station yesterday morning. While the four stations on the extension - Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link - will reopen after the weekend, the authorities will keep the
Commuters utilising the free bridging bus service at Joo Koon station yesterday morning. While the four stations on the extension - Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link - will reopen after the weekend, the authorities will keep the service between Joo Koon and Gul Circle stations suspended for up to a month, with buses to bridge the gap.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

While some opt for the bridging bus service, some firms make arrangements to pick up staff from Joo Koon station

With train services suspended between Joo Koon and Tuas Link MRT stations, commuters in the western end of Singapore are relying on alternative modes of transport to get to work.

Services have been put on hold as the authorities continue investigations into Wednesday's SMRT train collision at Joo Koon, which left 36 people injured.

While free buses to take commuters from Joo Koon to stations in the Tuas industrial area are available, many commuters told The Straits Times yesterday that their companies have made alternative arrangements.

Engineer Tsai Yu Ta, 36, said his company van would be picking him and his colleagues up from Joo Koon instead of Tuas Link.

He said the managers of his company are "quite understanding".

"They have also pushed our starting hours half an hour back in case there are any delays, which is good news for us," he said in Mandarin.

The 7.5km-long Tuas West Extension (TWE) opened in June, and extends the East-West Line (EWL) farther west into the Tuas industrial area.

While the four stations on the extension - Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link - will reopen after the weekend, the authorities will keep the service between Joo Koon and Gul Circle stations suspended for up to a month, with buses to bridge the gap.

Those who have to break up their journey by taking a bus between Joo Koon and Gul Circle will not be charged for a separate trip when they rejoin the train network.

At Joo Koon station yesterday, commuters told ST that they have made their own travel arrangements.

Said site engineer Ye Yant, 27, who was waiting for a sub-contractor's lorry at Joo Koon station, instead of Tuas Crescent: "It is troublesome, but luckily the arrangement we have is flexible and the lorry can drive farther out to get us."

A sales engineer, 27, who wanted to be known only as Cherria, usually walks to work from Tuas Link. "Fortunately, my boss said he could pick me up from Joo Koon today. I am not sure how my other colleagues are getting to work."

She said that the trains along the TWE stretch had been problematic in the past two months. "I noticed that the trains have been stopping and starting, and it has been happening often."

Accountant Koh Ling Ling's company has arranged to have the company lorry pick them up from Joo Koon instead of Tuas West station because of the suspended services.

Ms Koh, 30, has some concerns over the suspension. "If the situation is just one or two days, it is understandable. But one month is very long," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2017, with the headline 'MRT commuters in Tuas area find other ways to get to work'. Print Edition | Subscribe