Passengers can expect more accurate travel info from SMRT app starting in December

A SMRT train on the track at Joo Koon MRT station after colliding with another on Nov 15.
A SMRT train on the track at Joo Koon MRT station after colliding with another on Nov 15. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWAN PENG

SINGAPORE - To help commuters better plan their journeys during peak periods and train service disruptions, rail operator SMRT aims to provide them with more accurate travel information on their mobile devices in the coming months, starting in December.

Such information includes the number of trains that commuters may have to wait for before they can board as well as which station platform doors to stand at so they can get into a less crowded carriage.

The enhancements to SMRT's travel app - called SMRT-Connect - will be rolled out in three phases, starting from next month until next September, when they are targeted to be fully launched.

Mr Patrick Nathan, vice-president of corporate communications at SMRT Corp, told The Straits Times on Monday (Nov 27) that this real-time information system will help users plan ahead, especially during service delays.

Mr Nathan said that to assess congestion levels, SMRT will tap on real-time information from multiple sources, including wifi access points, fare gate data, train load data and camera feeds.

Currently, estimated train travel and arrival timings during a disruption are based on the time required by rail engineers to fix the faults and recover the service, SMRT said.

But the actual waiting time for commuters may be longer if the train is full, and they have to wait for the next one.

To address this, SMRT said it will go beyond the "engineering down time" and also factor in crowd levels at the station platforms in deriving train arrival times. This will start from Dec 17.

In the second phase starting in March, SMRT will apply data and video analytics on existing closed-circuit television (CCTV) feeds to assess crowd levels at stations.

Commuters will be informed about the number of trains they have to wait for before they can board.

In the third and final phase, SMRT will make use of commuters' wifi signals and other data extracted from fare gates and train loads, to gather more accurate information on the crowd levels.

Commuters like Ms Ng Si Ling, 30, said having more accurate train information would be useful and help her decide whether to still take the train or opt for a private-hire car.

"But it would be better if the trains don't break down," said Ms Ng, a freelance writer.