SINGAPORE - Commuters will not have to bear additional charges if they enter the wrong platform at the Downtown Line 2's Stevens station, and have to tap out again, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said.
An LTA spokesman assured commuters of this yesterday (Dec 22), amid public criticism of the station's design, which will have separate fare gantries for its platforms - a first for the island's MRT network.
Commuters had complained about a boarding charge incurred if they were to tap their ez-link cards into the wrong platform, and had to exit and re-enter the other one.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, an LTA spokesman said: "Commuters who enter the wrong platform by mistake can approach the Passenger Service Centre for assistance. This will allow the commuters to change to the correct platform without additional charge. LTA will also be reviewing whether there can be changes to the charging policy to address this issue."
Due to space constraints, the platforms at Stevens - one in the direction of Chinatown and the other to Bukit Panjang - were built one on top of the other. Once past the fare gantries of either platform, commuters would not be able to make their way to the other, as there is no link between the two.
Commuters who tapped into the wrong platform can approach the Passenger Service Centre for assistance.
MS TAMMY TAN, senior vice-president of corporate communications at SBS Transit
This got some netizens riled up, who aired their views on The Straits Times' Facebook page.
User David Neo wrote it was "totally ridiculous... because the design is so bad, the people have to be penalised by it".
Another user called Junko Igeta said: "Why can't the gantry be programed to 'refund' or 'waive' the fare not travelled if the same card is used to exit?"
Under the distance-based fare rules, tapping in and out of any station - even without any travel - will incur a minimum fare.
With the transport fare revisions that will kick in on Sunday (Dec 27), along with the DTL2 opening, this would be 83 cents for underground stations and 78 cents for above- ground stations.
An LTA spokesman said commuters "are made to pay a minimum fare as they may have travelled for a distance during the time they spend within the system".
MP Lim Biow Chuan, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, agreed with netizens, saying: "I don't see why you should be penalised for going to the wrong platform."
He said a simple solution could be to reverse the charge when the commuter taps into the platform he intended to go to.
SIM University adjunct associate professor Park Byung Joon suggested engineers could reprogram the fare gantries at the station.
The LTA said more signs will be placed before the fare gantries at the station to ensure commuters enter the correct platform.