Smooth ride on first day of DTL3, save for 2 short delays

Below and right: Commuters at the Tampines East station. Centre: Production technician E.L. Ong taking photos of the art pieces inside Bendemeer station. Far right: Fort Canning station, whose green colour scheme reflects the nearby landscape.
Commuters at the Tampines East station.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Below and right: Commuters at the Tampines East station. Centre: Production technician E.L. Ong taking photos of the art pieces inside Bendemeer station. Far right: Fort Canning station, whose green colour scheme reflects the nearby landscape.
Commuters at the Tampines East station.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Below and right: Commuters at the Tampines East station. Centre: Production technician E.L. Ong taking photos of the art pieces inside Bendemeer station. Far right: Fort Canning station, whose green colour scheme reflects the nearby landscape.
Production technician E.L. Ong taking photos of the art pieces inside Bendemeer station. ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Below and right: Commuters at the Tampines East station. Centre: Production technician E.L. Ong taking photos of the art pieces inside Bendemeer station. Far right: Fort Canning station, whose green colour scheme reflects the nearby landscape.
Fort Canning station, whose green colour scheme reflects the nearby landscape.ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Commuters give new line the thumbs up for convenience and the time saved

Train enthusiast Shahirwan Nur camped out in a Chinatown cafe on Friday night just to catch the first Downtown Line 3 train at 6am yesterday, the line's first day of operations.

The 19-year-old full-time national serviceman boarded the train at Chinatown station and travelled to Singapore Expo, stopping at each of the 16 stations along the way, before returning to Fort Canning.

"I wanted to take a look at all the new stations and observe their features as every station is unique," he said. "Fort Canning station is so beautiful and the colour scheme is green, which seems to reflect Fort Canning nearby. But my favourite so far is Bendemeer station, with its art pieces and purple walls."

The opening of the new Downtown Line 3 went smoothly, save for two short delays.

In the afternoon, a defective train had to be withdrawn at Tampines West station, causing a delay of five minutes. SBS Transit, the operator of the line, said the fault is being investigated.

Following that incident, a passenger activated the emergency communication button on another train as it was approaching Tampines East station. This caused a delay of 15 minutes.

Otherwise, commuters interviewed gave the new line the thumbs up, citing convenience and travelling time saved.

Commuters get to travel for free along all 34 stations of the whole Downtown Line this weekend.

Downtown Line 3 stretches 21km across the eastern side of the island.

It was officially opened on Friday and brings train service close to many in the heartland for the first time. This final stretch of the $21 billion Downtown Line was built over six years.

Commuters started checking out the new line in the morning. The crowd picked up around noon, especially at interchange stations such as Tampines and Expo.

 
 

Bendemeer station was a crowd favourite. Among the commuters taking photos of its interiors were production technician E.L. Ong, 55, and his wife.

Mr Ong, who lives near Keat Hong LRT station in Bukit Panjang, said it used to take him about an hour to get to the city during peak hours.

"With this new line, it took me about 30 minutes to go downtown," he said.

Singapore University of Technology and Design undergraduates Nur Fadhilah Nordin, 20, and Nur Farizah Segar, 21, save about 30 minutes travelling from Aljunied and Serangoon respectively to their school in Simei.

"The whole school was waiting for the line to open. Previously, we had to walk up to 10 to 15 minutes to have a meal at places nearby, like the Expo," said Ms Fadhilah.

Construction worker Duraimanickam Soosairaj, 34, said it takes just 12 minutes to get from where he lives in Kaki Bukit to Jalan Besar - a trip he makes weekly. By bus, it would be 40 minutes.

Factory operator Liew Yoon Kian, 54, who has lived in Geylang Bahru for more than 30 years, described the new line as very convenient, adding: "Whether it is Orchard Road or Haw Par Villa, we can go there easily now."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 22, 2017, with the headline 'Smooth ride on first day of DTL3, save for 2 short delays'. Print Edition | Subscribe