Smooth going on first weekday of Tuas extension

Above: Commuters disembarking at Gul Circle MRT station on the Tuas West Extension line yesterday morning. The line opened on Sunday. Left: Most of the carriages on the line, an extension of the East West Line, were empty yesterday morning.
Commuters disembarking at Gul Circle MRT station on the Tuas West Extension line yesterday morning. The line opened on Sunday. ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG
Above: Commuters disembarking at Gul Circle MRT station on the Tuas West Extension line yesterday morning. The line opened on Sunday. Left: Most of the carriages on the line, an extension of the East West Line, were empty yesterday morning.
Most of the carriages on the line, an extension of the East West Line, were empty yesterday morning.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

The first weekday morning operations for the new Tuas West Extension (TWE) generally ran smoothly yesterday, a day after its opening.

The Straits Times travelled with commuters at around 7am from Joo Koon MRT station through the four new stations that make up the TWE - Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link - without experiencing any delays.

The 7.5km-long TWE extends the East-West Line (EWL) further west into the Tuas industrial area. It will benefit those who previously had to rely on company-catered shuttles or public feeder buses to get to work in the area.

Mr Dong Jian Qiang, who works at a popcorn factory, previously alighted at Joo Koon MRT station and then took a bus to work.

Yesterday, Mr Dong got down at Tuas Link station instead. He still had to take a bus, but the TWE shortened his commute. "My journey time has been cut by 10 minutes," the 27-year-old said.

SMRT had earlier indicated that the switchover to the new signalling system could result in delays of around two minutes at Pioneer station but ST did not experience the delay.

The TWE runs on the new communications-based signalling system and not the fixed-block one that the rest of the EWL is operating on.

  • 100k

    Number of commuters the extension is expected to serve daily.

For now, every other west-bound train terminates at Joo Koon station. As such, commuters may need to disembark at the station before catching the next train to Tuas.

SMRT said the trains that travel along the TWE operate at intervals of four to five minutes during peak hours and eight to 10 minutes during non-peak hours.

While the extension is expected to serve 100,000 commuters daily, the first weekday morning was quiet. Most of the carriages on the TWE had empty seats.

Ridership numbers for yesterday's run could not be confirmed by press time.

Service ambassadors from SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) were at all four new stations to direct commuters and to answer their queries.

The LTA ambassadors at Joo Koon station held signs informing commuters who were not aware of the TWE, and were intending to commute to Tuas by bus, that the trains now continue to the area.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'Smooth going on first weekday of Tuas extension'. Print Edition | Subscribe