Two trains that will soon join the North-South, East-West MRT fleet will be able to accommodate more commuters during rush hours.
They will have rows of tip-up seats, which the operator will tip up or down depending on passenger load. Once in place, they are locked, and only the operator can access the unlocking mechanism.
If all these seats - 12 per car - are tipped up, each six-car train will have standing room for 100 more passengers, increasing its peak capacity by around 6 per cent to 1,700.
The trains are also fitted with automatic alerts which will be activated once any of their power collector shoes - which draw electricity from the rail - is dislodged. This helps the operator to fix any problem in a more timely fashion.
Another feature of the new trains is their red-and-green livery, representing the colours of the two lines, and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) logo.
This signifies the ownership of MRT trains under the New Rail Financing Framework, under which the Government owns all rail assets. Previously, the operator owned the train fleet.
The LTA showed the media one of the new trains at the Tuas Depot yesterday.
Private bus option when MRT closes early
Vehicle-pooling specialist ShareTransport is offering buses for commuters affected by shorter MRT hours from $1.99 per trip with guaranteed seating.
From this month, it will deploy 13-seater and 23-seater minibuses on four pilot routes along the East-West MRT line.
Upgrading work means that the entire line will close early every Friday, as well as on March 12 and 14 during the school holidays. There will also be shorter operating hours during weekends throughout the month.
ShareTransport will pick up passengers from Clarke Quay, Plaza Singapura, Raffles City and Suntec. Its buses will head for Jurong, Bedok, Tampines and Pasir Ris.
Mr Pang Kok Leong, managing director of Commute Solutions - the parent of ShareTransport - said these routes aim to provide commuters "a direct mode of transport" home.
Those who booked a ride before today via the ShareTransport app will get the $1.99 "early bird" fare. After that, the fare is $4.99.
Sections of the East-West line have been affected by shorter operating hours since December. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been deploying around 300 buses to replace the trains. But many people have complained about long waiting times and traffic jams, and ShareTransport is hoping to attract them by offering guaranteed seats and fewer stops.
For the first weekend of March, the LTA said it plans to deploy 250 to 400 buses.
Twelve Kawasaki-Sifang trains - all slated for the North-South and East-West lines - will have these new features.
Two of the trains have arrived and will go into service in the second half of the year. The rest are slated to go into service next year - along with the remaining batch of 57 new trains delivered from last year.
By then, the two lines will have 198 trains, up from 181 now.
The LTA said trains for the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line will also have the new features, but there are no immediate plans to retrofit all trains.
Meanwhile, the authority said 66 first-generation trains - which have been in service for 30 years - will be retired in the next few years.
A contract for their replacement will be awarded in the second quarter of this year, and the new trains - which will have the new features shown yesterday - are slated to arrive from 2022.
In addition to the 57 new North-South and East-West line trains, 24 Circle Line and 18 North-East Line trains have been put into service since 2015. This brings the total number of new trains for these lines to 99, representing an investment of about $1.1 billion.